Fact sheet of heart diseases in children

If it is extremely painful to see an adult suffering from a heart disease, then one can imagine the plight of the parents to see their child suffering from such diseases. Modern medical world with its unparalleled technological advancement emerging everyday gives a best shot in saving the life of a child. However, nature always has an upper hand in bestowing a child with a healthy heart. These days even young children are not spared of heart ailments and obviously the bad lifestyle is to be blamed for their pitiable condition.

Congenital heart diseases:

a birth defect, commonly referred to as congenital heart defect is an abnormality of the heart or the blood vessels surrounding the heart. The survival rate in children is relatively high with proper care and treatment helping them lead a normal or life. The detection of these defects can vary from the prenatal stage to few months of infancy and largely depends on the severity of the defect. It is quite often possible to detect an abnormality with the “heart murmur”. However, heart murmur may not necessarily indicate a heart disease, but can be considered as a sign of trouble during a diagnosis.

To name a few, Atrial septal defect (a hole between two upper chambers), Ventricular septal defect (a hole between two lower chambers),Coarctation of the aorta (main artery leaving the heart is constricted), Transposition of the great arteries (two large arteries leaving the right and left and transposed) and tetralogy of Fallot (a complex condition involving several defects) are few defects that can be classified as congenital heart defects.

Acquired heart disease:

developed during the growth of a child and is typically classified as Rheumatic heart disease and Kawasaki disease. Rheumatic heart disease is the most common acquired heart disease caused by the rheumatic fever damaging the heart valves and muscles. Rheumatic fever is caused by Group A streptococcus bacteria that usually begins with a strep throat and goes undiagnosed or untreated. Primary prevention of this disease is by administering oral penicillin for up to ten days or a singular intramuscular penicillin injection. Children who have already suffered from this attack are at high risk for a recurrence which only helps in damaging the heart further. Secondary prevention is a methodology used to prevent the recurrence by regular administration of antibiotics, usually continued for several years. Fortunately, this program is considered to be the most economical approach.

Kawasaki disease is manifested by fever, rash, and inflammation of hands, feet, mouth, lips and throat. It causes acute inflammation of blood vessels, generally the coronary arteries. The cause of this disease is still unknown. This condition typically occurs in children who are less than five years of age, affecting more boys than girls. This disease is rampant in Japan and is prevalent in most of the developed countries. now a days doctors do see Kawasaki’s disease in India also.



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Designed & Developed by Deepak Kambhampati.