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Types of congenital heart disease

There are several distinct main types of CHD, we can classify the different types of congenital heart disease into two categories in order to better understand the problems your baby may experience. They include:

Acyanotic (none-blue) Congenital Heart Diseases

What is Acyanotic Heart Diseases?

Congenital heart defects, or lesions, are parts of the heart that have not formed properly. They occur very early in a pregnancy. These defects can include “holes” in parts of the heart, or missing or malformed parts of the heart. There are about 35 known types of congenital heart defects. They range from the simple to the complex.

About 1 out of every 100 babies born each year have a heart defect, the majority of congenital heart defects have no known cause, if someone in your family has a defect, it is slightly more likely that your child will too, the risk increases from about 1 in 100 children to about 3 in 100.

Congenital heart defects are more common in people with certain syndromes, like Down syndrome or other syndromes, which affects a number of organs.

Importantly, in the majority of cases, there is no identifiable reason as to why the heart defect occurred.

Heart conditions are often classified into two groups: cyanotic (with bluish colour) and acyanotic (without bluish colour). Cyanosis is a bluish discolouration of the lips, gums and skin.

Here we will speak about acyanotic (without bluish colour) heart conditions.


What happens in the body/how does this Acyanotic Heart Diseases occur?

Acyanotic (without bluish colour) heart conditions:

Left to Right shunt Heart Conditions:

  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)

  • Atrial septal defect (ASD)

  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

  • Atrioventricular canal/septal defects (AV canal or AVSD)

These defects causes too much blood passes through lungs, which allows oxygen-rich (red) blood that should be traveling to the body to recirculate through the lungs, causing increased pressure and stress in the lungs.

Obstructive Heart Conditions

  • Pulmonary stenosis (PS)

  • Aortic stenosis (AS)

  • Coarctation of aorta (CoAo)

These defects in blood vessels cause too little blood travels to body or lungs, this prevent the proper amount of blood from traveling to the body or lungs to meet its needs.


What are the signs & symptoms of Acyanotic Heart Diseases?

Symptoms can be very subtle or quite severe, resulting in serious illness. Some defects may become apparent later in life. A child may even "grow out" of some of the simpler heart defects, such as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) or atrial septal defect (ASD), as these defects may resolve on their own as the child grows.

Other infants will have a combination of defects and require several operations throughout their lifetime.

Symptoms and sigs might include:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Congested cough

  • Diaphoresis (Sweating)

  • Fatigue

  • Frequent respiratory infections

  • Heart murmur

  • Tachycardia (Fast heartbeats)

  • Tachypnea (Fast breathing)

  • Respiratory distress

  • Poor growth and development (from increased energy spent on breathing)

  • Rarely in progressed untreated defect mild cyanosis (in right sided heart failure)

How is Acyanotic Heart Diseases diagnosed?

Sometimes doctors can diagnose a heart defect even before the baby is born, using a fetal echocardiogram, which provides a picture of the baby's heart. However, defects are usually identified days or even months after birth, when symptoms become obvious.

To diagnose a heart defect after birth, the cardiologist will usually take:

  • History and do a physical examination of the newborn baby.

  • A chest X-ray will give the doctor information about your baby's lungs, as well as the size, shape, and position of the heart.

  • An ECG electrocardiogram shows heartbeat rhythms.

  • Echo: an echocardiogram shows the structure of the heart and how well it's working. An echocardiogram is a lot like an ultrasound that a pregnant woman may undergo to measure her baby's progress during the pregnancy.

  • A test called cardiac catheterization may be done also. This is an invasive test in which catheters, or tubes, are inserted in the groin at the top of the leg and passed through the blood vessel into the heart. Dye is used to show blood flow, and the size and shape of blood vessels and chambers in the heart. Pressures and oxygen levels can be measured.

How is Acyanotic Heart Diseases treated?

Babies with congenital heart problems are treated by specialists called pediatric cardiologists. These physicians diagnose heart defects and help manage the health of children before and after surgical repair of the heart problem.

Specialists who surgically correct heart problems in the operating room are known as pediatric cardiovascular or cardiothoracic surgeons.

Treatment depends on which part of the heart is affected. Some children will not need treatment if the effect on blood flow is minor, while others will require medication or intervention such as cardiac catheterization or surgery. Many heart defects can be successfully managed.

Some defects aren't treated right away, but can wait until the child is older. And some defects are treated in stages.

Prognosis: While heart defects generally aren't curable, they can be managed well enough to enable the child to function well.

With advances in technology and our understanding of heart defects, the outlook for most children is positive. The risk of serious side effects and complications from treatment is much lower than it used to be. The majority of children will reach adulthood. Children with simple conditions may lead completely normal lives. Children with more complex conditions usually face more challenges.

When should I call my Doctor or seek medical attention?

Please use medications as prescribed per your child's cardiologist, if you notice that your child is having fast breathing, fatigue, distress or other symptoms as mentioned before which are worsening and not improving so please call your doctor or go to the emergency department immediately.

Emarat Atrium Building

Sheikh Zayed Rd - Al Wasl - Dubai,

United Arab Emirates

2nd flour – office No. 225


Tel. 00971 4 222 0966

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