Did you know? Knowing about congenital heart defect like a hole in the heart can help you tackle the condition. Read on to know more about the symptoms of it, and deal with it at the right time.
Are Are you aware? An atrial septal defect (ASD) can be described as a hole in the wall (septum) between the two upper chambers of one’s heart (atria). And you will be shocked to know that this condition is present by birth itself. Though, small defects may not be problematic and tend to close during infancy or even early childhood. Moreover, the hole increases the amount of blood that tends to flow via the lungs. Likewise, the matter may become worse as a large, longstanding atrial septal defect can take a toll on one’s heart and lungs by damaging them. Large defects tend to cause a shorter life span, right-sided heart failure, and heart rhythm abnormalities.
The symptoms of it include shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the legs, abdomen or feet or heart palpitations. Thus, you must immediately consult your doctor in case you notice these red flags, and get timely treatment.
Another defect is the ventricular septal defect (VSD(, which is also a hole in the heart present by birth itself. Here, the hole that is the defect is in the wall (septum) that tends to separate the heart’s lower chambers (ventricles) and tends to allow blood to pass from the left to the right side of the heart. Here, the blood which is oxygen-rich gets pumped back to one’s lungs and of the body and makes the heart work harder. Did you know? VSDs may not be problematic and many small VSDs tend to close on their own. Though, those VSDs that are medium and large may require surgery for keeping complications at bay.
The symptoms of VSDs are: breathlessness or breathing fast, tiredness, not gaining weight, or short of breath. Take your children immediately to the doctor if the symptoms crop up.
Likewise, Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) can be described as a persistent opening between the two major blood vessels that lead from the heart. Ductus arteriosus, that is the opening is a normal part of the baby’s circulatory system before birth which closes shortly after birth. In case, it tends to remain open then it is known as a patent ductus arteriosus. This issue can lead to poor eating, sweating with crying or eating, tiredness, rapid heart rate and breathlessness in babies.
Moreover, large PDA in infancy or even childhood may invite Tetralogy of Fallot. This is a condition wherein a combination of four heart defects that persist at birth. Thus, these defects tend to affect the structure of one’s heart, leading to oxygen-poor blood to flow out of one’s heart and to the other parts of the body as well. Those with Tetralogy of Fallot defect also tend to exhibit blue-tinged skin as their blood doesn’t carry sufficient oxygen. The symptoms of this may vary from one child to another. Moreover, the common symptoms that children may exhibit are bluish skin, rapid and shortness of breathing, unconsciousness, a murmur of heart, crying for a longer period of time and even irritation.
Know what you should do?
If your child exhibits symptoms mentioned above then get him/her evaluated, and initiate appropriate treatment. Many children have congenital heart defects and fail to seek treatment at the right time due to the lack of awareness. Hence, parents should be watchful of the symptoms and opt for the recommended tests by the doctor that can allow in detection of the defects. Even adults who have congenital heart defects do not seek treatment. So, be aware of the defects, and deal with it at the right time.
By Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre