Congenital heart disease is a defect in the structure of the heart of the newborn, which develops within the mother’s womb during the embryonic period, capable of compromising its functioning.
There are different types of heart diseases, which can be mild, and only discovered in the adult age, even more serious, which are cyanogenic heart diseases, capable of causing changes in the blood flow of the body. There may be genetic causes, such as Down syndrome, or caused by habits in embarassment, such as abuse of drugs, alcohol, chemical substances or infections in the embarassed woman.
Congenital heart disease can be detected in the mother’s uterus by ultrasound and echocardiography. This illness can be cured, and its treatment can be performed through a surgery to correct the defect, and will depend on the type and complexity of the heart disease.
Cardiopathy can be classified as:
1. Cyanogenous congenital heart disease
This type of heart disease is more serious, as the defect in the heart can significantly affect the blood flow and the oxygenation capacity of the blood and, depending on its severity, it can cause symptoms such as pallor, blue color of the skin, shortness of breath, fainting, convulsions and death. The main ones include:
- tetralogy of Fallot: prevents the flow of blood from the heart to the lungs, due to a combination of 4 defects, characterized by the narrowing of the valve that allows the blood flow to the lungs, communication between the heart ventricles, alteration in the positioning of the aorta and right ventricular hypertrophy;
- Ebstein’s Anomaly: blood flow difficulties due to anomalies in the tricuspid valve, which connects the right heart chambers;
- pulmonary atresia: causes the absence of communication between the right heart and the lungs, preventing adequate blood oxygenation.
Ideally, cyanogenic congenital heart disease is diagnosed as early as possible, even in the mother’s uterus or after the birth, through echocardiography, which detects these cardiac alterations, to plan an intervention and prevent sequelae to the baby.
2. Congenital acyanogenic heart disease
This type of heart disease causes alterations, which always have serious repercussions on the functioning of the heart, and the amount and intensity of the symptoms depends on the severity of the cardiac defect, which ranges from the absence of symptoms, only symptoms during exercise, until heart failure.
Depending on the symptoms caused, these alterations can be discovered immediately after birth or in the adult age. The main ones are:
- Interaural Communication (CIA): there is an abnormal communication between the cardiac atria, which are the uppermost chambers;
- Interventricular communication (IVC): there is a defect between the walls of the ventricles, causing an inadequate communication of these chambers and the mixture of oxygenated and non-oxygenated blood;
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA): this channel exists naturally in the fetus to join the right ventricle of the heart to the aorta, so that the blood flows towards the placenta and receives oxygen, but it must be closed after the birth. Its persistence can cause difficulties in the oxygenation of the blood of the newborn;
- atrioventricular septal defect (DSAV): causes inadequate communication between the auricle and the ventricle, making heart function difficult.
Regardless of the type of congenital heart disease, cyanogenic or acyanogenic, it can be classified as complex when the heart suffers an association of several defects, which seriously influence its function and which is more difficult to treat, as it occurs in the tetralogy of Fallot, for example.
signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of congenital heart disease depend on the type and complexity of cardiac defects. In newborns and babies, they can be:
- Cianosis, which is the bluish coloration in the tips of the fingers or in the lips;
- excessive sweating;
- Excessive tiredness during lactation;
- Pallor and apathy;
- Low weight and little appetite;
- Fast breathing and cuts even at rest;
In minors or adults, the symptoms can be:
- Accelerated heart and bluish mouth after efforts;
- Frequent respiratory infections;
- Easy fatigue in relation to other children of the same age;
- You don’t unroll, you don’t gain weight normally.
Changes in the size of the heart can also be observed, confirmed by means of an X-ray examination and an echocardiogram.
How is the treatment performed?
The treatment of congenital heart disease can be carried out with the use of medications to control the symptoms, such as diuretics, beta-blockers, to regulate heart rate and inotropes to increase the intensity of the barking. However, the definitive treatment is the surgery for the correction, indicated for all cases, being able to cure the heart disease.
Many cases take years to be diagnosed and can resolve spontaneously over the course of the child’s growth, leading to a normal life. However, more serious situations require surgery, even in the first year of life.
In addition, several genetic syndromes can present heart defects, and some examples are Down syndrome, Alagille, DiGeorge, Holt-Oram, Leopard, Turner and Williams, for example, therefore, the functioning of the heart must be evaluated in situations where the child is diagnosed with these illnesses.
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