Congenital heart defect is an abnormality of the heart found in babies at the time of birth. It is the most common congenital disorder in newborns. While in some cases this disease is identified right after birth in others it takes a while to recognize. The heart defects originate during the early weeks of pregnancy when the heart is forming.
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This defect may involve:
1. The interior walls of the heart
2. The valves inside the heart
3. The arteries and veins that carry blood to the heart or the body
Congenital heart defects can be a very dangerous disease for infants as in this it effects the normal blood flow of the heart. Modern day researches have not yet come up with a definite reason for this sort of a heart effect in children. Common guesses are genetic and environmental factors. Since the 1990s, Scientists have identified about 10 gene mutations that can cause isolated, i.e., not accompanied by other birth defects, heart problems.
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The common Heart Defects may be of the following types:
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) - this problem which occurs mostly in premature babies develops due to a particular event before birth. A large artery named ductus arteriosus lets the blood bypass the lungs because the fetus gets its oxygen through the placenta. Now, if it doesn’t close then the baby may get a heart failure.
Septal Defect – this refers to a hole in the septum which divides the right and left side of the heart. There are two types of this defect, while a hole in the wall between the heart’s two upper chambers is called an artial septal defect, the other is called ventricular septal defect and this refers to a hole between the lower chambers.
Coactation of the aorta – Aorta is the large artery which sends blood from the heart to the rest of the body. When this artery gets too narrow so that the blood cannot flow properly it is referred to as the coactation of the aorta. A surgery can work things out during such an ailment.
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Heart valve abnormalities – sometimes some new born babies are born with heart valves that do not close normally or those that are narrowed or blocked. Again in such cases blood is denied a smooth flow. Surgery is the only option here.
Transposition of great arteries – This situation occurs when the positions of two major arteries leaving the heart are reversed. Hence, for this faulty positioning each of the arteries arises from the wrong pumping chamber.
Scientific advancement has made the possibility of a surgery during the first few months of a baby’s birth. Until sometime back a surgery for such an ailment was only possible after the baby attained childhood. Of course after the surgery the child would have to visit a cardiologist for heart check up. This is necessary as it makes sure that the problem is not erupting once again.
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