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What are the Complications of Congenital Heart Disease?

Congenital heart disease is a defect in the structure or the malformation of the heart during the development of child in the womb. The symptoms of this condition can be seen be at the early stage and through a complete diagnosis and treatment it can be treated. But, some individuals may develop congenital heart disease later in life. The

complications of congenital heart disease

are discussed below in this article. Let us examine them.

Complications of Congenital Heart Disease

The complications of congenital heart disease may not develop after the initial treatment until years. Because the congenital heart disease severity varies widely, the possible complication range also varies. But, some common complications or problems which may develop later in the adulthood include the following:

  • Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms):

    Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) occur when these electrical impulses in the heart which coordinate with the heartbeats do not function properly, which causes the heart to beat too slowly, too fast or irregularly. This heart rhythm problems or arrhythmias is a common problem in individuals with congenital heart disease. This condition can be due to the heart defect itself which interferes with the electrical impulses of a normal condition or a previous corrective surgery might left a scar tissue which can cause this arrhythmias. In some patients, this condition can become much severe, causing a sudden cardiac death when not treated properly. The arrhythmias treatment has been improved in recent years. Thus, it is very important to seen appropriate medical care.

  • Endocarditis (Heart infections):

    Heart contains 4 chambers and 4 valves, which have a thin membrane lining called Endocardium. An infection of the endocardium is called as Endocarditis. Some heart defects often interrupt with the easy blood flow in the heart thus making it easier for the bacteria to develop. Typically, endocarditis occurs when the bacteria or the other micro organism from other parts of the body enter the bloodstream and lodge within the heart. If this condition is left untreated, then it can damage and destroy the heart valves or even trigger a stroke. The serious consequences could be life-threatening. Thus, consult your doctor immediately as he/she can prescribe some antibiotics to lower your chances of developing Endocarditis disease.

  • Stroke:

    Stroke occurs as the flow of blood to the part of the brain is either interrupted or reduced severely, depriving the brain tissue of nutrients and oxygen. Later, the cells of the brain begin to die with a very few minutes. Some of the congenital heart defects higher your chances of stroke mainly due to the abnormal connection inside the heart, thus allowing the blood clot from the vein to pass through the heart to the brain. Certain types of heart arrhythmias can increase the chances of blood clot formation in the brain leading to stroke.

  • Heart failure:

    Congestive heart failure or heart failure means the heart cannot pump enough amount of blood to meet the body’s needs. Some congenital heart disease types can cause heart failure. Later, conditions such as high blood pressure or coronary artery disease gradually sap the heart of its strength, thus leaving it too stiff or too weak to efficiently fill and pump. Some medications and lifestyle changes can help to treat this conditions. Medications can improve the symptoms and signs of chronic heart failure leading to improved survival. Changes in the lifestyle such as exercising, managing stress and hypertension, eating less salty foods (low-sodium content), treating depression and losing excess weight helps in preventing the buildup of fluid and improving the quality of life.

  • Heart valve problems:

    The heart valves in some of the congenital heart disease types are abnormal. Some of the heart defects can be minor in the early life, but might cause problems in later stage of life. In other cases, either a repaired or replaced valve in the childhood might require further surgery in the later life as an adult. Some other type of catheter-based or surgical treatments performed in the childhood might require repeated procedure later in the life (in adulthood).

  • Pulmonary hypertension:

    Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high B.P. (blood pressure) which affects only the lungs’ arteries. Some of the congenital heart defects might cause more flow blood to the lungs, thus increasing pressure. Thus, as there is a build up of pressure, the heart’s right ventricle must work much harder to pump the blood through the lungs, causing the muscles of the heart to weaken or even sometimes to fail totally. If this condition isn’t caught at the early, damage to the permanent lung artery can occur.

Prevention tips for congenital heart disease:

Generally congenital heart disease cannot be prevented. However, by following some preventive measures one can lower the risk of developing congenital heart defects.

  • Women before and even during pregnancy can lower the risk of conceiving a baby without any heart defects. Thus, they need to follow a healthier lifestyle. This includes avoiding drug abuse, avoiding drinking alcohol and taking some medications.
  • Individuals with congenital heart defect willing to have a baby can go for genetic counseling.
  • One of the best ways to prevent congenital heart defects in babies is taking complete guidance from a highly qualified and experienced doctor for total health of the baby.

The above article discusses briefly about the

complications of congenital heart disease

. Thus, patients must follow the above prevention tips to avoid the congenital heart disease and its complications. Patients with this condition must go for a regular check up and take prescribed medications on time. Some patients might need special procedures using the catheters, heart transplant or open-heart surgery as a treatment for congenital heart disease.

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