There are many misunderstandings about Congenital Heart Diseases. The Congenital Heart defect is a serious problem & can limit child’s prospects for a full life. In contrast, many heart defects can be cured or can be made significantly less severe through surgical or interventional procedures. Here are some common myths, which everyone believes. These myths must be removed from everyone’s mind because myths can create the biggest problems in one’s life.
1) The children born with congenital heart defects cannot survive long life.
Truth: Survival rates for children with congenital heart defect were low in the past decades. But now the situation has changed. Today children with CHD can survive long life. Many heart defects can be cured or can be made significantly less severe through surgical or interventional procedures.
2) The children born with congenital heart defects cannot have an active Life.
Truth: Children with CHD can have an active life as they want through surgical corrections. Of course, not all children with congenital heart disease will be able to be that active, but many will. The objective is to have any child born with heart disease lead active life as much as possible. If All things considered, being active can be a part of leading a heart-healthy life.
3) The child has to be of certain age and before the heart disease can be operated upon.
Truth: Child suffering from congenital heart disease can be operated even at birth. The timing of operation depends upon when it is necessary than the age or the weight of the child. In certain heart diseases if you wait too long the diseases can become inoperable.
4) Congenital Heart disease affects only children.
Truth: Congenital Heart Disease is the common birth defect in children, affecting 1 out of 100 babies. But now Congenital Heart Disease in adults is increasing approximately five percent each year. Many children born with congenital heart diseases are growing into adults. Adult congenital heart disease requires life long care.
5) Congenital heart disease means a hole in the heart.
Truth: Hole in the heart is just one type of congenital heart disease. There are hundreds of different types of heart diseases. It could be valve blockages, abnormal connections of blood vessels, blockages of blood vessels, underdeveloped heart chambers, etc
6) There is increase in the incidence of congenital heart diseases
Truth: There is increased awareness about detection of congenital heart diseases. There are skilled doctors who are exclusively trained to look after children with congenital heart diseases and there is better equipment. As more and more children with heart diseases are detected early, it appears that the number is increasing.
7) Whenever a pediatrician advises echocardiography test, it’s going to be a serious problem.
Truth: The children are referred for echo test when a child specialist hears an abnormal heart sound which he/she calls heart murmur. Heart murmurs are very common in children and not all of them are associated with serious heart diseases. In fact, many murmurs disappear spontaneously and are called benign murmurs. In any case, even if it turns out to be significant heart problem it is best to know about it sooner rather than delaying it.
8) Rather than consulting child heart specialist we can wait to resolve the congenital heart defect on its own.
Truth: All congenital heart diseases do not resolve spontaneously. Some of them requires proper treatment. You may have come across children with a heart condition with the good or bad outcome, do not apply it to your own child.
9) All heart operations require open heart surgery
Truth: This is not true, some heart defects can have only open heart surgery, and others can be fixed without opening the chest through a tube passed through one of the blood vessels in the leg. There are some heart defects which require a combination of both.
10) Can the patient with congenital heart disease have a child?
Truth: For most adult congenital heart disease patients, successful pregnancy is possible. But there are risks you should assess before pregnancy, or as early in the pregnancy as possible. Depending upon your condition, your child might be in danger of low birth weight, respiratory distress syndrome, or premature delivery. Before pregnancy guardians must talk with adult congenital cardiologist about the issues they may face during pregnancy.
11) The cost of treatment for congenital heart disease is too much.
The cost of treatment for congenital heart disease is related to the seriousness and age of the youngsters and the materials utilized as a part of the operation. Some congenital heart diseases are not severe, so they will cost low but some congenital heart diseases can be severe so they may cost very high. Therefore, in different cases, different treatment costs.
What is congenital heart defect (CHD)?
A congenital heart defect is an issue with the structure of the heart. It is present from birth, hence called congenital heart defect (CHD). Congenital heart defects are the most widely recognized kind of major birth defects. Each 1 infant out of 125 suffers from congenital heart disease. 50000 infants die each year in our nation before their first birthday because of their untreated congenital heart defects. Of all the deaths due to congenital malformations in children less than 1 year of age, half are due to congenital heart diseases. 25% of congenital heart diseases are undiagnosed even in school-age children. These facts are alarming; therefore, there is an extensive drive in developed countries to analyze congenital heart diseases during childbirth before children die undiagnosed and untreated.
Most congenital heart disease can be effectively diagnosed in pregnancy between 18 to 20 weeks of gestation by ultrasound of the heart. This can enable guardians in crucial choices: like whether to proceed or not with the pregnancy. This also helps guardians who wish to proceed with the pregnancy and prepare financially and mentally for the surgery etc
What is the treatment for congenital heart defect?
In the past, children born with a heart issue normally required open heart surgery. A kid may require open-heart surgery if his or her heart defect can’t be fixed using a catheter procedure. In some cases one surgery can repair the defect completely; in other cases they require multiple surgeries. Cardiovascular specialists may use open-heart surgery to:
- Close holes in the heart with stitches or a patch
- Repair or replace heart valves
- Widen arteries to heart valves
Once in a while, babies are born with multiple defects that are too complex to repair; these children may require heart transplants. In this system, the youngster’s heart is replaced with a solid heart from a deceased kid. The heart has been given by the deceased child’s family.
2) Catheter Procedures
In many cases, therapeutic cardiac catheterization enables particular patients to keep away from cardiovascular surgery/scar.
Cardiac catheterization is a technique done through a vessel in the leg, without opening the chest. The advantage is that it doesn’t involve a scar on chest, doesn’t involve intensive care/ventilation and in particular, the patient is up and about that day, prepared to go home next day.
Surgeries/catheter interventions can be offered at any age and at any weight. One doesn’t need to wait for the child to grow if the surgery is indicated.
Heart surgeries/catheter interventions should be done in a convenient manner according to the guidance of doctor taking care of the child. A pediatric cardiologist is a physician who has received extensive training in the diagnosis and treating children’s cardiac problem. Evaluation and treatment may start with the fetus since heart problem can now be detected before the birth. He/she is also trained to care adults who were born with heart issues. There is a typical misconception that a pediatric cardiologist can just take care of kids, in fact, it is easier for a pediatric cardiologist to intervene on adults who are borne with heart disease but never knew about it.
When should one consult a pediatric cardiologist?
1) Pregnant women who have diabetes, heart diseases or previous child with a heart disease, who are on certain medications, for example, anticonvulsants/antidepressants. 18 – 20 weeks of gestation is the perfect time for fetal echocardiography.
2) Child with irregular heartbeats.
3) Child with poor or no weight gain.
4) Child with the heart murmur.
5) Child having cyanosis (blue lips/blue fingers)
6) Child having hypertension.
7) Child with heart failure
8) Child who have had past heart surgeries.
9) Adults who are referred to have heart illnesses, for example, a hole in the heart since childhood.
What can a pediatric cardiologist offer?
The pediatric cardiologist has a wide range of a population to serve from pregnant women, infants, children to grown-ups with congenital heart diseases. He/She is unique in a way that not just he/she can diagnose heart diseases and treat with medications yet additionally operate on the majority of them without opening the chest by a strategy called cardiac catheterization. Pediatric Cardiologist can offer,
1) Fetal echocardiography for pregnant women between 18 – 20 weeks of gestation.
2) Echocardiography for youngsters and adults born with heart diseases.
3) Procedures for different inborn heart diseases, for example, ASD, VSD, PDA, coarctation, stenosis and so on without opening the chest through cardiovascular catheterization
These procedures are offered to kids as well as to adults and in fact easier in adults as they are technically less challenging.