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Unveiling Congenital Heart Disease Symptoms: Recognizing Early Signs

Artemis Hospital

February 23, 2024 |
9 Min Read | 102

A variety of birth defects that impair the heart's normal function are collectively referred to as congenital heart disease. Congenital refers to a condition that exists from birth. It is one of the most prevalent kinds of birth defects. According to more recent research, the incidence of congenital heart disease (CHD) is 9.5 per 1,000 live births, although the commonly cited rate is 8 per 1,000 live births worldwide. However, a significant regional variability has been recorded in terms of incidence of this disorder.

Pediatricians are always very concerned about the accurate diagnosis and appropriate management of the newborn with congenital heart disease (CHD), even though prenatal diagnostic techniques (testing of babys well-being during pregnancy) have greatly improved.

A baby with congenital cardiac anomalies such as complete transposition of the great arteries (TGA), hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), aortic and pulmonary valvular stenosis/atresia, or obstructed total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR) needs to be diagnosed and treated right away in order to enhance the chances of survival. Unfortunately, most clinical and physical findings are nonspecific and vague, making the diagnosis difficult. These life-threatening heart diseases may not show obvious symptoms soon after birth.

However, early detection and timely treatment can reduce damage associated with this disease and improve the likelihood of a full recovery. This article gives insight to this heart diseases symptoms. Lets know more about this disease in the following article.

What is Congenital Heart Disease?

Congenital heart disease refers to structural heart defects that exist from birth. It can be detected before birth (during pregnancy), right after birth, or anytime during ones lifetime. The symptoms and course of treatment for this disease depend upon type and severity of the defect. There are several types of CHD, and the complications may range from minor to serious. However, life-threatening consequences can result from complex defects.

In the current scenario, congenital heart disease survivors continue to live longer than before because of rapid advancements in diagnosis and treatment of this disorder. Congenital heart disease patients require lifelong medical attention. Treatment options include medication, surgery, or routine check-ups (watchful waiting). Consult your doctor to know how frequently you should get checked if you have adult congenital heart disease.

Following are the various types of CHD:

  • Atrial septal defect (ASD)
  • Atrioventricular canal defect
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Congenital heart defects in children
  • Congenital mitral valve anomalies
  • Double-outlet right ventricle
  • Ebstein anomaly
  • Eisenmenger syndrome
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Long QT syndrome
  • Partial anomalous pulmonary venous return
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  • Patent foramen ovale
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum
  • Pulmonary atresia with ventricular septal defect
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR)
  • Transposition of the great arteries
  • Tricuspid atresia
  • Truncus arteriosus
  • Vascular rings
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD)
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Congenital Heart Disease?

The symptoms of congenital heart disease differ greatly on the basis of the patients age, number of defects, extent of defect, and the type of heart defect. The symptoms may appear right at the time of birth or may remain hidden until much later in life. These are:

  • Bluish discoloration of skin, lips, or nails
  • Excess sleepiness
  • Troubled breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Experiencing unusual fatigue or breathing difficulties while working out
  • Heart murmur (an irregular blood flow causing swishing sound in the heart)
  • Impaired blood circulation
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Weak pulse

Causes of Congenital Heart Disease

For the majority of babies, the causes of CHD are unknown. Due to variations in their unique genes or chromosomes, some babies are born with heart defects. A combination of genes and other factors, including things in the mothers environment, her diet, her health conditions, or her use of medications during her pregnancy, are also thought to be responsible for CHDs. For instance, pre-existing diabetes or obesity in the mother has been related to the development of congenital heart defects. Heart defects have also been related to smoking during pregnancy and using specific medications.

Risk Factors of Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease may arise as a result of a number of environmental and genetic risk factors, such as:

  • Genetic factors: It seems that congenital heart disease is inherited and runs in families. It is linked to numerous hereditary syndromes. When a baby is still inside its mother's womb, genetic testing can identify various genetic disorders.
  • Diabetes during pregnancy: The development of the baby's heart may also be impacted by type 1 or type 2 diabetes during pregnancy. Congenital heart disease is generally not associated with gestational diabetes (pregnancy-related diabetes).
  • Rubella infection to the pregnant woman: Rubella exposure during pregnancy may impact the fetus's cardiac development.
  • Medications: Certain drugs have the potential to cause birth defects such as congenital heart disease during pregnancy. Lithium for bipolar disorder and isotretinoin for acne, are two medications that have been linked to development of heart defects. Never withhold information about your medications from the doctor you see.
  • Smoking during pregnancy: Give up smoking if you do. Pregnancy-related smoking raises the baby's risk of congenital heart defects.
  • Alcohol intake during pregnancy: Alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been associated with a greater risk of congenital heart defects.

Living with Congenital Heart Disease

Infants with congenital heart defects are living longer and healthier lives than before because of advancements in medical care and treatment. Currently, a large number of CHD children survive into adulthood. A lot of individuals with congenital heart diseases lead lives of independence with barely any problem. Others may eventually become disabled. Certain people with congenital heart disease are more susceptible to disability due to co-existing genetic issues or other medical conditions.

Conclusion

Many patients with congenital heart disease remain uncured despite advancements in treatment modalities. Depending on the type of heart defect they have, how many heart defects they have, and how severe each heart defect is, people with CHD may eventually experience other health issues. To maintain their best possible health, people with CHD require routine examinations from cardiologists. After their initial surgeries as children, they may also require additional surgeries. It is crucial for patients with congenital heart disease to see their doctor frequently and talk to them about all aspects of their health, including their particular heart condition.

Take the road to get an independent life with congenital heart disease. Reach out to us for expert opinion now!

FAQs

Q1: What are the warning signs of Congenital Heart disease?

A: Bluishness of skin & lips, fatigue, heart murmurs, rapid breathing, and shortness of breath are few warning signs of congenital heart disease.

Q2: Is Congenital heart disease curable?

A: Even after their heart defect has been fixed, many people with this disorder are still not cured, despite advancements in its treatment. However, patients can learn to manage it properly for a long time.

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