Knowing the Symptoms of A Congenital Heart Defect

Congenital Heart Defect
Posted at 8:00 AM, Aug 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-24 04:39:06-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Doctors are warning parents of undiagnosed Congenital Heart Defect.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, heart defects are problems with the heart's structure that are present at birth. These can involve the interior walls of the heart, the valves inside the heart and the arteries and veins that carry blood to the heart or the body. Congenital Heart Defects change the normal flow of blood through the heart.

Every year, more than 35,000 babies in the United States are born with CHD.

"I think it is important for them to know that many forms of serious congenital heart disease are picked up on ultrasound during pregnancy. Many are also picked up in the newborn nursery after a murmur or blue discoloration (called cyanosis), or after an abnormal pulse oximetry reading is obtained. Despite this, late diagnosis of significant congenital heart disease in infants does occur," said Dr. Benjamin Toole, Pediatric Cardiologist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

"Murmurs, which are abnormal sounds heard on exam, are very common. It is estimated around 50% of children will be diagnosed with a cardiac murmur at some point in their lives," he adds. "The murmur may be caused by a structural defect of the heart but often the murmur occurs in the setting of a child with a normal heart. Children are often referred to cardiologists when the murmur is prominent, changes in nature, or is present in a child who is having symptoms such as those above."

Dr. Toole says these may be signs or symptoms of a possible undiagnosed CHD:

- An abnormal heart sound or murmur

- Poor weight gain and poor feeding in newborn or infant

- Fast breathing or sweating during feeds or while resting in newborn or infant

- Blue discoloration of lips/around mouth

- Chest pain during exercise in older children and teenagers

- Changes in exercise endurance

- Passing out during exercise

For more information on CHD, click here.