Congenital heart defects

Congenital heart defects

Congenital heart defects mean abnormalities that appear in the structure of the heart and its tissues. Although they occur from birth, some of them may not have symptoms in childhood, and appear later with age. Dealing with these defects depends on their severity and their impact on the patient’s life. Some of them have a minor effect, while others are congenital heart defects that may pose a threat to the patient’s life and require immediate treatment.

Causes of congenital heart defects

Studies indicate that one in every 100 children is born with a congenital heart defect, and for adults, there is one in every 350 adults. Although the main causes of congenital heart disease are not known, there are some genetic and environmental factors that help in its occurrence. Diseases that affect the mother, especially during the first months of pregnancy, play a major role in affecting the structure of the fetus’s heart and its development while it is in the womb. These factors include:

  •  The mother has diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2.
  • Genetic factors and chromosomal abnormalities. Heart abnormalities are often associated with Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome, or Turner syndrome.
  • The mother is exposed to German measles during the first months of pregnancy.
  •  The mother is exposed to some environmental pollutants, chemicals, and types of radiation during her pregnancy.
  • If the mother smokes or uses drugs during pregnancy, it increases the chance of congenital heart defects.
  •  Taking some medications prohibited for use during pregnancy, such as some epilepsy treatments, and using some cosmetics.
  • In addition to acquired factors such as rheumatic fever or viral myocarditis.

Some congenital heart diseases:

There are many types of congenital heart defects, but the most common are:

  • Pulmonary valve stenosis disease.
  • Delayed heart development.
  • Aortic valve stenosis.
  • hole in the heart .
  • Tetralogy of Fallot.

Symptoms of congenital heart defects

Symptoms of congenital heart defects in children differ from those in adults. Congenital heart defects in children and newborns appear as follows:

  • shortness of breath.
  •  The child’s breathing is rapid.
  • The baby stops a lot during breastfeeding and thus the mother notices that he spends more time breastfeeding.
  • Increased heart rate in children.
  •  Sometimes the skin color changes to blue.
  • He suffers frequently from respiratory infections.
  •  Exhaustion and fatigue.

Congenital heart defects in adults appear as follows:

  •  difficulty breathing.
  • Fatigue and exhaustion when exerting physical effort.
  • Arrhythmia.

 How can congenital heart defects be diagnosed?

 Heart diseases caused by congenital malformations are diagnosed through a clinical examination of the patient, discussing the symptoms with the doctor, and usually some tests are performed, such as:

  • Ultrasound of the heart through the esophagus.
  • Cardiac catheterization.
  • Electrocardiogram.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging.
  • CT scan of the heart.

Is a congenital heart defect dangerous?

The severity of the disease depends on the type of congenital heart defect. Some of them may be simple and require only periodic follow-up, such as some types of heart holes that close on their own as the child grows, and some congenital defects require treatment with cardiac catheterization or surgical interventions, and the age of the child varies. Which intervention is recommended depending on the type of birth defect.

What is the treatment for congenital heart defect?

Most congenital heart defects are able to correct spontaneously as the child grows normally until he reaches puberty, such as small holes in the heart.

Professor Dr. Muhammad Al-Ghannam points out that the treatment of congenital heart defects depends on the type of heart defect and its impact on the patient’s life. Some congenital heart defects can be lived with and controlled with medications to support the heart muscle, improve its functions, and avoid any serious complications, and this is done in conjunction with monitoring. And continuous follow-up with the doctor.

 But there are types of serious congenital heart diseases that threaten the patient’s life and require surgical treatment or cardiac catheterization.

 Professor Dr. Muhammad Al-Ghannam also confirms that it has now become possible to correct many heart problems and birth defects laparoscopically, without resorting to open-heart surgeries or deep thoracotomy. Limited intervention techniques are done through a small opening in the side of the chest, and then the operation is performed using laparoscopy. It guarantees a faster recovery for the patient and a high safety rate compared to other surgeries.

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