Congenital Heart Diseases in Children

Congenital heart diseases are anomalies that occur during prenatal development of the unborn baby in mother's womb and the majority of heart problems occurring in children are congenital problems.These anomalies can be classified as follows:

  • Holes in the heart
  • Anomalies that cause stenosis or regurgitation in heart valves,
  • Anomalies in vessels going into or coming out of the heart,
  • Congestive Heart Failure: It is a condition encountered in many heart anomalies. Heart pump doesn't work as powerful as necessary so fluid begins to build up in lungs and other organs and causes edema (swelling). Children with congestive heart failure get tired quickly, and they have fast and troubled breathing. Diuretic drugs help remove excess fluid that accumulates while implementation of a low-salt diet may be necessary. Feeding infants with congestive heart failure often proves to be problematic.
  • Heart Rhythm Problems Sometimes the heartbeat may be too fast(tachycardia ) or too slow (bradycardia). One may have to use medication to bring heartbeat rate back to normal level.

Congenital heart disease is a rare disorder and in most cases, the cause of the disease is unknown. However, the following factors are known to be effective in congenital anomalies:

  • Certain viral diseases. For example, rubella, etc. during pregnancy,
  • Genetic factors
  • Medicines used during pregnancy, alcohol, drugs, exposure to x-ray beam,
  • Consanguineous marriage,
  • Diabetic mother

Some of the children with cardiac anomaly can be adequately treated with medications. Where drug therapy is not enough, a series of invasive therapies by catheterization and surgical treatment are applied.

Invasive therapies by catheterization include:

  • Baloon septostomy: In some cardiac abnormalities, adequate mixing of clean and dirty blood inside the heart is essential for survival of the baby. For this, a baloon-tipped catheter is introduced into the heart and a hole is made in upper chambers of the heart.
  • Valvotomy: Some narrow heart valves can also be opened by a balloon during catheterization without surgery.
  • Coil Embolization and Umbrella Implementation: Some heart holes and vessel openings which do not close can be closed during catheterization.

Electrophysiology and Ablation: In children with certain rhythm problems, cardiac catheterization can be utilized to find focuses that cause this problem and rhythm problem can be treated by burning these focuses by a method called “ablation" during the catheterization.

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