by Premier Hospitals | November 18, 2019 |
About one out of every 100 children suffers from a heart problem. If this problem exists from birth, then it is called as congenital heart disease. Heart defects are usually treatable, either by drugs, surgeries or other medical procedures. A child with heart problems may or may not have apparent symptoms. Sometimes, they may develop slowly over time. In other cases, there may be sudden changes, such as an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Also, symptoms of heart problems in children can vary depending on the age of the child. If a child has symptoms of heart disease, a paediatrician must be consulted immediately. He/She would examine the child, do some basic tests and decide on referral to a Pediatric Cardiologist if necessary. Most tests for heart problems are simple, fast and painless. Most children with heart disorders lead healthy, satisfying lives with very little or no restrictions. A congenital heart defect, as mentioned before, means that a child is born with a defect in the structure of the heart. Some congenital heart defects in children are simple and do not require treatment. Other congenital heart defects in children are more complex and may require several operations over several years. Knowing more about heart problems in children, allows the parent to mentally prepare themselves to handle the disease of their child better and also to seek appropriate medical care. So in this article, we at Premier Hospital give you information on heart function, symptoms of the child with heart disease and also tell you how to recognise a child with a heart problem. How Does The Heart Work?
The heart has four chambers, two on each side of the body. The right side collects blood from the body and sends blood to the lungs to receive oxygen. The left side receives fresh blood from the lungs and pumps it throughout the body. Arteries are blood vessels (tube-like structures) that carry blood from the heart, and Veins are blood vessels that carry blood back to the heart. Oxygenated blood is often referred to as red blood because it looks bright red. Blood that has returned from the body to the heart does not have much oxygen and is commonly referred to as blue blood because it has a darker blue colour. The wall in the heart separates red and blue blood, and the valves keep blood flowing in the right direction. What Is Heart Failure?
For a child to grow and develop well, the heart must maintain normal pumping function to ensure optimal blood flow to the body. Heart Failure is a disease, where the heart does not stop working but is unable to maintain its pumping function. It can occur in newborns, infants, toddlers and teenagers. Because heart failure has several causes and consequences, it is essential to recognize it early. There are two types of heart failure in children. The first, circulatory failure, occurs when two types of blood mix in the heart due to a defect in the heart such as in congenital heart disease. The second, pump failure, occurs when the heart muscle is damaged and cannot contract normally with the same force. In adults, heart failure occurs mostly due to the effects of smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, heart disease and heart valve weakness. What Causes Heart Problems In Children?
Damage to the heart wall (a hole in the heart), or a problem with the valve (for example, the valve is too narrow, completely blocked or too weak) is often the most common cause of heart disease in children. This may lead to mixing of oxygenated (red) blood with deoxygenated (blue) blood or to defective pumping of the heart. In such situations, the body may not get enough oxygen. These heart abnormalities usually occur when the baby is still growing in the womb. The cause may be genetic (there is a family history of heart disease), or due to infections during pregnancy, or even due to use of certain drugs or smoking by the pregnant mother. Hence, doctors are very careful about giving drugs during pregnancy, so as to avoid any harmful effects to the baby (fetus) inside the womb. Types of Heart Defects
There are many types of congenital heart diseases, such as the following:
Many children with heart abnormalities appear to be healthy and have no symptoms, and their parents don't know they have heart problems. Of those who have symptoms, most develop in the first few weeks after birth. Common symptoms include: Infants
The doctor will ask you about the child's symptoms and medical history. They will also do a physical examination and look for signs of heart failure. If they find any signs suggestive of heart failure, they may refer the child to a pediatric cardiologist (Child heart specialist). This doctor has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of heart problems in children. Heart failure tests can include: