Congenital heart disease affects children, infants, and even fetuses, which are still developing inside the uterus. Today, as statistics state, 8 out of every 1,000 children are affected with this disease. A disease with few known causes, congenital heart disease is dangerous. Doctors have failed to pinpoint the exact causal factors for most people suffering from this disease.
Congenital heart disease has many forms. Grouped into different types, it is usually diagnosed and treated accordingly. The disease typically includes one of the following: abnormal holes in the heart chambers, improper connections between chambers which leads deoxygenated blood flow to the body instead of the lungs and oxygenated blood to flow to the lungs instead of the body, and much more.
According to research, there are some risk factors that are viewed as possible causes. They include genetic or chromosomal abnormalities or defects, and environmental factors, which include the mother's taking alcohol, cocaine, or over-the-counter antibiotics during pregnancy.
Although this disease may be present in infants from the very beginning, it may show aggravated symptoms and be diagnosed during childhood, or sometimes even late in adulthood.
Symptoms are quite similar to the usual heart disease symptoms, such as shortness of breath, complete passing out, fast breathing and difficulty in feeding, poor weight gain, chest pain, and cyanosis.
Diagnosis can be possible through intravascular catheterization, chest-x-ray, electrocardiogram, position emission tomography, and others. Other tests include pulse oximetry, which reveals the amount of oxygen in the baby's blood, and echocardiogram, which gives an ultrasound of the baby's heart.
Treatment of congenital heart disease depends solely on the intensity, degree, and type of disease, besides other factors such as age. In an aggravated state it typically requires surgery; however, only a trained and professional pediatric cardiologist should examine and decide about the surgical options in infants and children. In a mild state, medications can work.
Congenital heart disease is dangerous. Starting from a very mild state, it can take the form of heart failure, leading to an early death. Proper diagnosis, medications, and treatment are required and must be restored to by anyone who suspects he has congenital heart disease.