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Congenital heart disease

Specialization: Cardiology and cardiac surgery

Causes and Treatment of Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease affects a few or one heart part provoking defects. It appears in the pre-birth period, in the bosom – heart vessel formation proceeds improperly in the fetal development process.

Types of pathology distinguished in cardiology.

  1. Underdeveloped heart valves. It’s expressed as follows: valve doesn’t open at all or is very narrow. Blood flows with difficulty; sometimes it can’t get through. Additionally, the valve may let blood leak out the back.
  2. Modification of walls overlapping the heart chambers. Blood from the atria can mix because of holes presence – this shouldn’t be allowed.
  3. Heart muscle pathology – inefficiency of organ operation.
  4. Disruption of blood vessels communication. Blood doesn’t flow to organs it should; in addition, blood isn’t sufficiently saturated with oxygen resulting in organisms’ failure.

Causes of heart disease

Heart disease belongs to hereditary pathologies category. Among negative influences provoking defect occurrence are also following:

  • a child has problems with chromosomes at the genetic level. It includes, among other things, Down’s syndrome – chances of disease developing increase by 50%;
  • a mother consumes alcohol and smokes during pregnancy;
  • certain medicines can increase the likelihood of pathology developing: drugs for acne prevention – isotretinoin, anti-seizure drugs – valproate, etc.;
  • if a woman, being in first months of pregnancy, had rubella or other infectious illnesses;
  • diabetes mellitus – direct impact on formation of a child’s heart muscle.

Congenital heart disease symptoms

Sometimes heart congenital diseases don’t manifest themselves. For adults, disease signals are as follows:

  • person doesn’t tolerate any physical activity;
  • severe breath shortness;
  • difficulty with exercises.

For babies:

  • skin, lips and nails have a bluish tint;
  • child breathes quickly and eats poorly;
  • a baby is gaining weight very slowly.

Congenital heart disease diagnosis and treatment

Congenital heart disease is diagnosed by following clinical methods.

  1. ECG – recording electrical impulses of an affected organ. Detection of heart rate and abnormal contractions.
  2. Chest X-ray – revealing changes in heart shape and size.
  3. Pulse oximetry. Sensor examines blood oxygen saturation.
  4. Echocardiogram shows blood circulation through the heart, specifically in valves.
  5. Load tests. Methodology helps finding out the heart’s reaction to different exercises.
  6. MRI and CT – specialist receives a complete chest and heart image.
  7. Catheterization. Checking arteries and blood-stream in general.

Some birth pathologies are mild – no treatment is needed. Congenital heart disease treatment looks as follows.

  1. Congenital heart disease surgery. Method consists in mechanically correcting a defect in the septum or restoring the proper valve opening width.
  2. Medical therapy. In particular, doctors use drugs whose action is aimed at alleviating load on the heart:
    • inhibitors and beta-blockers. First drug group lowers blood pressure slowing down frequency of cardiac beats, reducing fluid amount in the organ. Second group dilates arteries.
    • diuretic agents help to remove excess fluid and lower blood pressure.