What is Congenital Heart Diseases?

What are congenital heart diseases?

Congenital heart diseases are the most common congenital defects in newborns, which are caused by disturbances in the process of fetal heart formation in the womb. It should be noted that the meaning of the word “congenital” does not necessarily mean the existence of forms and the origin of the disease from the mother of the baby, but rather the existence of a defect from the birth of the child from the mother.

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Signs and symptoms of congenital heart diseases:

Many congenital heart disorders before birth and during the fetal period can be diagnosed by ultrasound and planning to start treatment after birth. Also, after birth, paying attention to warning signs can help in timely diagnosis; These symptoms will be different depending on the type of disorder and the age of your child and include:

  • Rapid breathing rate
  • Low blood oxygen level
  • Abnormality of the color of the baby’s skin, nails and lips (the baby’s color may be blue and bluish.)
  • Nutritional disorders such as difficulty breathing and tiredness while feeding followed by the baby falling asleep and not gaining proper weight.
  • Hearing extra noise during examination by the doctor
  • Some children may not have any special symptoms until they are older, and during periodical examinations, following frequent colds, or lack of activity tolerance while playing with their peers, their heart disease is diagnosed.

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Types of congenital heart diseases:

Congenital heart diseases can be divided based on the effect they have on your child’s body system and their symptoms.

1) Diseases that increase the blood flow to the lungs: In this case, the pressure and load on the lungs increases and your child experiences difficulty in breathing, early fatigue during breastfeeding, lack of adequate nutrition and then lack of weight. It is suitable. Some children may not have any symptoms. Among the diseases of this category:

  • Defect of the wall between the atria
  • Defect of the wall between the ventricles
  • Wall defects between atria and ventricles
  • An open ductus arteriosus between the great vessels of the heart and lungs
  • Heart diseases

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2) Diseases that reduce the blood flow to the lungs: In this case, the blood flow that goes from the heart to the lungs is reduced, and the blood enters the lungs at a lower speed and quantity each time, and the oxygen level of the blood decreases. The body is reduced. Therefore, your child may have a bruised appearance (at the ends of the fingers and nail beds and lips) and a lower oxygen level than healthy children. Among the diseases of this category:

  • Absence of pulmonary valve
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Transplantation of the great vessels of the heart
  • Absence of tricuspid valve
  • The trunk of the arterial unit
  • Heart diseases

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3) Diseases that reduce the blood flow to the organs of the body: in this case, due to the small size of the cavities or the absence of a valve, or the narrowing of the blood exit path from the heart, the blood that is pumped to the other organs of the body will be very less. and cause paleness of the organs and premature fatigue during activity.

  • Lack of formation on the side of the holes on the left side of the body
  • Stenosis in the aorta
  • Single ventricle of the heart
  • Aortic valve stenosis
  • Heart diseases

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4) Abnormal structure in heart valves and vessels:

  • Separation of the left coronary branch from an abnormal location
  • Abnormal return of pulmonary vessels to the heart
  • Two-leaflet aortic valve
  • Ebstein’s anomaly
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Heart diseases

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Causes of congenital heart diseases:

The cause of many congenital heart diseases is still unknown. Sometimes some of these disorders can be seen in several family members; Genetic causes can be considered involved in the occurrence of congenital heart diseases. The chances of congenital heart disease in babies with other genetic defects such as Down syndrome will be higher. Other effective factors in the occurrence of congenital heart diseases include the use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and the mother’s exposure to diseases such as rubella during pregnancy and diabetes.


Diagnosis of congenital heart diseases:

Prenatal diagnosis: In most cases, these heart defects can be detected by echocardiography during the fetal period. In this case, your doctor will talk to you about the type of disease, necessary measures during childbirth, and treatment plans and methods after the birth of the baby. Genetic tests may also be recommended during this time.

Diagnosing after birth: Most heart disorders can be diagnosed in newborn examinations and screenings at birth and in the first weeks of life. If your doctor suspects congenital heart defects, other diagnostic procedures including chest X-ray, ECG and echocardiography of the child will be recommended. After the definitive diagnosis of congenital heart disease, depending on the doctor’s opinion, and if necessary, MRI and diagnostic angiography will be more specialized and advanced measures.

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Treatment of congenital heart diseases:

Congenital heart defects range from very small disorders to very complex cases, variable and their treatment is also very different.

If your child has a slight defect in the structure of the heart, sometimes they can be controlled and treated by regular periodic examinations under the supervision of a doctor and drug therapy and increasing the age and weight of the child.

But children with more complex defects may need more therapeutic interventions such as angiography or surgery. Some of these procedures will be performed immediately at birth, some in the first months of life, and some at older ages. In some children, surgeries are performed at several stages of the child’s life.

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The outlook for congenital heart disease patients:

The outlook of these patients will be different depending on the type of defect and underlying diseases that accompany it; But according to the progress of science, most congenital heart defects can be treated

Most children with small heart defects continue their lives and activities normally, and your child’s sports and recreational activities may not be affected by this defect at all. But for children with bigger and more complex defects, be sure to consult with your doctor regarding the amount and type of activities and sports for your child. In case of shortness of breath, fatigue and bruises, avoid competitive sports.

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