Congenital Heart Defects in Children
Atrial septal defects (ASD):
An atrial septal defect is when there is a hole between the two atria, which are the upper two chambers of the heart.
Symptoms: ASD can be asymptomatic or can present with a heart murmur, shortness of breath when exercising or swelling of legs.
Ventricular septal defects (VSD):
A ventricular septal defect is when there is a hole between the two ventricles, which are the bottom two chambers of the heart.
Symptoms: VSD can be asymptomatic or can present with fatigue, poor feeding or fast breathing.
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF):
TOF is caused by four heart defects that occur together from birth. These defects ultimately lead to decreased oxygen in the blood.
Symptoms: Common symptoms can include a blue coloration of the skin because of low oxygen in the blood, shortness of breath during exercise or feeding, easy tiring during exercise and a heart murmur.
Double outlet right ventricle:
Defined as the aorta (the blood vessel that pumps blood from the heart to the body) attaching to the right ventricle (the heart chamber that pumps blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs). This deformity leads to oxygen-poor blood being pumped to the body.
Symptoms: Common symptoms include bluish color to the skin because of low oxygen in the blood and easy tiring during exercise and feeding.
Transposition of great arteries:
Transposition of the great arteries is when the pulmonary artery (the blood vessel that carries blood from the right ventricle to the lungs) is switched in position with the aorta (the blood vessel that carries blood from the left ventricle to the body). This change leads to decreased oxygen-rich blood flowing throughout the body.
Symptoms: Symptoms can include bluish color to the skin because of low oxygen in the blood and shortness of breath.
Anomalous pulmonary Venous Return:
When the pulmonary veins (blood vessels carrying oxygen rich blood from the lungs) flow into the right atrium (right heart chamber that receives deoxygenated blood from the body).
- Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return
- Partial Anomalous Venous Return
Heart disease that is due to the tricuspid valve not forming (the valve between the right top and bottom heart chambers). Without the tricuspid valve, blood cannot flow from the right side of the heart to the lungs and therefore will not become oxygenated.
Symptoms: Symptoms include bluish color to the skin because of low oxygen in the blood and shortness of breath.
Hypoplastic left heart:
Hypoplastic left heart is when the left side of the heart is smaller than normal. Because of the smaller size, the left side of the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body.
Symptoms: Symptoms include bluish color to the skin because of low oxygen in the blood and cold hands and feet.
Treatment of Congenital Heart Defects
Not all of the children with congenital heart disease need treatment but some of them do need a proper care and effective treatment. Some of the effective medical treatments are available to help improve the performance of the heart. The treatment options for congenital heart disease may include medicines, procedures using catheterization, surgery, and transplant. Your child’s doctor may administer the treatment after critically diagnosing the type of defect and its severity along with their age, size and general health of a child.