Congenital Heart Defects In Children: What You Should Be Aware Of As A Parent

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a problem or abnormality that occurs when a baby’s heart develops in the mother’s womb. The term “congenital” refers to a defect present at birth and is one of the most common birth defects. CHD indicates a problem in the structure of the heart that can affect the heart walls, heart valves, or blood vessels. A baby’s heart begins to form during conception but is fully developed eight weeks after the onset of pregnancy. Coronary artery disease appears during the first six weeks of pregnancy, when the fetal heart begins to take shape and shape.

Congenital heart problems can range from simple to complex and while the simpler can be managed with minimal medication and regular monitoring with the doctor, some of the more complex may require intervention or surgery in the first few days of the disease. life.

Risk factors

Diabetes: Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when your blood sugar is constantly high. It is important for women to control their blood sugar before planning to become pregnant and also during pregnancy, as diabetes can cause coronary heart disease in a newborn baby.

Infections during pregnancy: Many infections, especially viral infections like rubella during pregnancy, can affect a baby’s heart development.

Radiation: Exposure of a pregnant woman to X-rays can lead to the development of a heart defect in the fetus.

Medications : Consuming certain medications during pregnancy can increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Therefore, it is important to share a list of all medications that one consumes with the doctor when pregnancy is planned / detected.

Smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy

Genes: Coronary artery disease is associated with certain syndromes and can also be familial, although in rare cases.

Traffic signs

Symptoms can be classified according to the age of the child:
After birth or during the first months of life

Power supplies interrupted (suction-rest-suction cycle)

Pale gray or blue skin color (cyanosis)

Rapid breathing

Recurrent lung infections

Poor weight gain

Swelling in the legs, abdomen, or areas around the eyes

Later in childhood:
Shortness of breath during exercise or activity


Getting tired or exhausted easily

Have a fast or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)

Chest pain

Sudden loss of consciousness (Syncope)

Treatment options
Some coronary heart disease may require regular medical monitoring and resolve spontaneously over a period of time.

Some other coronary heart disease may require surgery to correct the birth defect of the heart

Many coronary artery disease can be treated non-surgically using cardiac intervention techniques with good results.

Most patients who have been treated for coronary heart disease can lead normal, productive lives with regular visits to a pediatric cardiologist.

Complications of coronary artery disease if it is not treated in time
Congestive heart failure resulting in poor weight gain, respiratory complications.

Growth and development retarded compared to other children of this age.

Heart rhythm problems also known as cardiac arrhythmia.

Stroke due to blood clots passing through a hole in the heart and making their way to the brain.

Cyanosis, a condition that indicates that the color of the skin turns grayish blue due to the mixing of oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood.

Emotional stress or mood swings due to insecurity due to physical growth, activity restrictions, frequent hospital visits.

Preventive measures
Since it is difficult to determine the exact cause of coronary heart disease, it is difficult to prevent this condition. However, the following steps can be taken to reduce the overall risk of birth and heart defects:

Get the rubella vaccine before you conceive.

Control chronic diseases like diabetes, epilepsy, etc.

Avoid exposure to harmful substances during pregnancy. Do not consume any drugs, herbs, or medication without doctor’s approval.

Avoid smoking and consuming alcohol

Avoid exposure to radiation

Take a multivitamin containing folic acid 2-3 months before conception and continue during pregnancy, as folic acid can help reduce birth defects.

Dr Amit Mishri Senior Consultant – Pediatric Cardiology Clinical and Preventive Cardiology, Heart Institute, Medanta Hospital