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What are congenital heart diseases in children? And Shaio

Congenital heart diseases are structural or anatomical alterations that the baby’s heart can present when it is being formed. In Colombia, 9 out of every 1000 children are born with some kind of heart disease, and according to the National Institute of Health, congenital malformations accounted for 25.2% of all non-fetal deaths in children under 1 year of age by 2021.

Our specialist Dr. Jaume Franco, pediatric cardiologist at Clínica Shaio, resolves some of the doubts that arise from this topic.

What are the most common congenital heart diseases?

The most common are the interatrial communication, interventricular communication and dpatent arteriovenous uctus, these diseases can be mild or severe.

How do they differ? these diseases?

  • Interventricular communication: it is known as a hole in the heart, an abnormal communication in the wall that divides the two main heart chambers responsible for pumping blood.

  • Interaural communication: there is an abnormal opening in the septum that separates the atria, so that some of the oxygenated blood flows through the septal opening into the right atrium, where it mixes with poorly oxygenated blood, which which increases the total amount of blood that must flow to the lungs.

  • Patent ductus arteriosus: is a communication between the aorta and the pulmonary artery through a ductus arteriosus, (usually there is no connection between the circulation going on both sidess of the heart, as there should be no communication between them).

What alarm signs can a child present?

From a clinical point of view, it could be said that all three will generate volume overload in the cardiac cavities. Common symptoms of these short-circuit diseases are:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Little gain in weight and height

  • Frequent respiratory infections

  • Nutritional problems

  • Dyspnea or difficulty breathing when doing some physical activity

  • Chest pain

The causes or factors influence the formation of one or the other congenital heart disease?

It depends on multiple factors: genetic, environmental and a mixture of the above. For example, medicines, viral infections during pregnancy, some diseases of the mother or exposure to radiation can cause alterations in the heart.

How are these diseases diagnosed?

When the child presents symptoms, was seen by his pediatrician and there is a suspicion of a heart disease, the diagnostic process by pediatric cardiology begins where studies are carried out with chest X-ray, electrocardiogram and echocardiogram that allow to identify which is the anatomical alteration that the child has and proceed to treat it.

The treatment is the same to congenital heart diseases?

Treatment may be with medications to manage heart failure.

It can be surgical with the closure of the defect or it can be by hemodynamics through the placement of endovascular devices to close the defect. The choice of closure method depends on the size of the defect, the location and the size of the patient.

Can children with detected congenital heart disease have a normal life?

In the case of these three pathologies, once corrected, they can have normal physical capacity and adequate physical and mental development. But a timely diagnosis and treatment is necessary so that there are no sequelae

There may be side effects from one of these diseases?

If the defects are not treated in a timely and appropriate manner, permanent residual lesions, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension may remain.

The key to mitigating a child suffering from one of these congenital heart diseases is to detect and treat warning signs in a timely manner during pregnancy, this can help reduce the risks of mortality and more children reach adulthood.

This article had the advice of Dr. Jaume Franco, pediatric cardiologist at the Shaio Clinic.

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