Early signs of congenital heart disease in children – VnExpress

Children with shortness of breath, rapid breathing, less feeding, interrupted feedings, prolonged feedings or symptoms of pneumonia… may be manifestations of congenital heart disease.

Dr. CKI Vu Nang Phuc (Head of Department of Congenital Heart, Cardiology Center, Tam Anh General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City) said that congenital heart disease is a common malformation and the leading cause of death among them. cases of birth defects in infants. In developed countries, the rate of children with congenital heart disease averages about 0.8-1% of the total number of live births.

Congenital heart disease or congenital heart defect is a defect of the heart muscle, heart valves, heart chambers that occurs in the fetus and persists after birth. At this time, some abnormal heart structures will affect the activity and function of the heart.

According to Dr. Vu Nang Phuc, congenital heart defects in children are very broad, ranging from simple cases (just monitoring without needing treatment); to many complex diseases (may require multiple surgeries performed over several years).

Complex congenital heart defects are often discovered soon after birth or during the first few months of life. Signs of congenital heart disease in children include: pale gray or blue (cyanotic) skin color; rapid breathing; swelling in the legs, abdomen, or areas around the eyes; Difficulty breathing while suckling leads to slow weight gain.

In newborns, signs of congenital heart disease include: shortness of breath, rapid breathing, cyanosis, little feeding, interrupted feeding, and prolonged feeding. Babies who are a few months old will have more obvious signs such as frequent coughing, wheezing and symptoms of pneumonia. In addition, children may have delayed physical development, pale, sweaty, cold hands and feet; Some children with congenital heart disease purple can observe that the lips, fingertips – feet turn purple, increasing when the child cries…

Congenital heart defects are also often accompanied by diseases related to chromosomal mutations such as Down syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome, Marfan syndrome, Noonan syndrome, William’s syndrome, polydactyly, cleft lip and palate. … Therefore, in these cases, children need to be examined and monitored to detect congenital heart defects if any.

Cardiology examination for children at the congenital heart clinic, Tam Anh General Hospital. Photo: Jewel.

Also according to doctors, less serious birth defects may not be diagnosed until the child is older. Symptoms include: the child is easily short of breath or tired with exercise or activity; fainting on exertion; swelling in the hands, ankles, or feet.

“Congenital heart disease, if detected early and with the right and timely intervention measures, can help children develop and lead a life close to or like normal children. Therefore, as soon as a child is detected with symptoms, For the above abnormalities, parents should take the child to a medical facility for an accurate diagnosis and a reasonable and timely treatment, to achieve the highest treatment effect,” emphasized Dr.

Causes of congenital heart disease

Vu Nang Phuc said that most congenital heart defects are abnormalities that occur during pregnancy, but the exact cause is still unknown. However, a number of environmental and genetic risk factors can contribute to the disease.

Doctor Phuc analyzed that genetic factors are considered to be the biggest cause of birth defects in children, especially heart defects. If a parent or family member has one of these congenital heart diseases, the child has a higher risk of developing it. However, in some cases, parents who carry the disease gene, do not have congenital heart disease, but the baby is still at high risk.

Mothers who get rubella during pregnancy may be at risk for serious complications, including congenital heart defects. The doctor can assess the mother’s immunity to rubella before pregnancy and vaccinate against the disease if she is not immune. In addition, maternal diabetes is also one of the causes of congenital heart defects in children. However, the risk of congenital heart defects can be reduced by controlling blood sugar before and during pregnancy.

Pregnant women need antenatal care by appointment, fetal echocardiography to screen and detect congenital heart defects early.  Photo: Tam Anh General Hospital.

Pregnant women need antenatal care by appointment, fetal echocardiography to screen and detect congenital heart defects early. Photo: Tam Anh General Hospital.

Certain medications taken during pregnancy can cause birth defects, including congenital heart defects. Women should give their doctor a complete list of medicines to take before becoming pregnant to prevent birth defects in their babies.

According to Dr. Phuc, medications that increase the risk of birth defects include: Thalidomide (Thalomid), ACE inhibitors, statins, the acne medication isotretinoin (Absorica, Amnesteem or others), a certain anti-seizure and anti-anxiety medications. In addition, maternal obesity, alcohol consumption, active or passive smoking during pregnancy also increase the risk of congenital heart defects in the baby.

Chau Vu


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