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Identifying heart disease in your newborn, a must know for parents


Lucknow: Though incidences of congenital heart diseases have remained same, but attributing to the increased awareness and better diagnostic tools such as echocardiography and antenatal detections, more number of cases are being diagnosed at early stages.

Many of the congenital heart disease can be safely picked up in antenatal life by fetal echocardiographer .The ideal age is around 18 weeks of gestation. Fetal echocardiography is equally safe procedure for the fetus and the mother and can be repeated without side effects n number of times.

“It is important to pick up the symptoms early for timely treatment which results in best long term outcome and better quality of life. In most of the cases, timely treated child will have no impact on the routine lifestyle and can amalgamate socially as normally as any child. For a child complaining of frequent palpitations an expert opinion must be sought from the pediatric cardiologist as this may point to abnormal heart beating.” Said Dr. Neeraj Awasthy (Principal Consultant & Incharge- Department of Pediatric Cardiology & Congenital Heart Disease

Children with congenital heart disease have poor feeding and have poor appetite and hence unsatisfactory weight gain. This may be evident in the form of comparison with peers, loosening of clothes etc. There are many causes of the unsatisfactory weight gain with heart disease being prominently one of them. When compared to other friends Childs gets easily tired, complains of breathlessness while playing with friends of about the same age group. Increased incidence of chest infection should immediately prompt to rule out underlying congenital heart defect such as holes in the heart. This may indicate that heart cannot cope with the demands during exertion and competitive sports and thus requires evaluation for heart disease by an expert.

Once you approach a pediatric cardiologist he would evaluate the child and in most likelihood subject the child to echocardiography. It may require giving certain sedatives to the child which is equally safe. The quietened child increases the efficacy of detection of heart defects.

“If you notice any of the above symptoms consult a local competent doctor or a pediatrician.  In case doctor feels suspicious he may take a expert opinion from a pediatric cardiologist. Remember that most of the heart diseases in children are treatable if picked at the right time with almost 100% cure so there is no need to get panicked.  Also all the above pointers are just subtle indicators which may be present in many children because of many other reasons and may not point exclusively to heart disease. These are just subtle indicators that the child requires evaluation. It’s good to be alert.” He added


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