Congenital Heart Disease

Do you experience shortness of breath and struggle while exercising?

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is one possible explanation. CHD is the result of the abnormal formation of your heart or major blood vessels before birth. It encompasses approximately 18 different structural defects, such as valve dysfunction and irregular chamber passageways. Most heart defects are diagnosed in utero or during infancy, but others that are harder to detect may not be diagnosed until years or even decades later.

Most defects caused by congenital heart disease can be fixed. Nearly all children with simple defects lead relatively normal lives.

Some people with CHD have no symptoms and do not need treatment. Others require surgery or catheterization plus monitoring. All patients with CHD require regular monitoring by a cardiologist, as the disease is associated with higher risk of developing congestive heart failure, heart rhythm problems, infective endocarditis and pulmonary hypertension.

There are many causes of CHD. If your child is the patient, then a pediatric cardiologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart problems in children will lead your team.

Symptoms may include:
• Blueish skin
• Fatigue
• Rapid breathing
• Shortness of breath
• Swelling
• Additionally, in infants and children:
   o Lung infections
   o Poor feeding
   o Poor weight gain

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