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Congenital Heart Diseases

  • What is Atrial Septal Defect?

    Congenital heart diseases are mostly due to the underdevelopment of the heart structure while the foetus is still developing in the womb.

    An atrial septal defect is one of the more common congenital heart diseases. This defect refers to a hole in the wall (septum) separating the left and right atriums of the heart. This causes oxygen-rich and oxygen-depleted blood from the atriums to mix, resulting in low-oxygen blood being pumped through the body. Find out how atrial septal defect can be treated safely and effectively.

    Atrial septal defects that are small may not result in any symptoms at birth. The symptoms below may begin to show through childhood, or even later in adulthood:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Frequent respiratory infections in children
    • Irregular heart beat
    • Frequent tiredness
  • What is Ventricular Septal Defect?

    Like an atrial septal defect, a ventricular septal defect occurs when there is a hole in the wall (septum) separating the left and right ventricle of the heart. It is also one of the most common congenital heart diseases in the world.

    This defect usually results in the flow of oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle into the right ventricle. This puts extra strain on the left chamber, as it needs to work harder to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. If the defect is large enough, a reversal of blood flow may occur and cause oxygen-depleted blood to be pumped into the body again. Find out how ventricular septal defect can be treated safely and effectively.

    While there are cases where symptoms do not surface, most babies with ventricular septal defect may show one or more of the following symptoms soon after birth:

    • Heart murmur (a ‘wheezing’ sound when listening to the heart with a stethoscope)
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fast heart rate
    • Fast and hard breathing
    • Failure or difficulty in gaining weight
    • Sweating while feeding
  • What is Tetralogy of Fallot?

    Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a common, complicated congenital heart disease that involves the 4 different congenital defects in the heart:

    • Ventricular septal defect – There is a hole in the wall between the left and right ventricle of the heart
    • Overriding aorta – The aortic valve is enlarged and connected to both the left and right ventricle, instead of only the left ventricle (normal)
    • Pulmonary stenosis – Narrowing of the pulmonary valve and artery, which sends blood from the right ventricle to the lungs for oxygenation (to become oxygen-rich blood)
    • Right ventricular hypertrophy – Thickening of the right ventricle muscle walls as the right ventricle is pumping at a higher than normal pressure

    Patients with tetralogy of Fallot may not be limited to the above 4 defects and may have more congenital defects in their heart structure. The combination of these 4 defects results in oxygen-depleted blood being pumped through the body again and a poorer delivery of blood to the lungs for oxygenation. Find out how tetralogy of Fallot can be treated safely and effectively.

    Symptoms of tetralogy of Fallot are often found soon after birth. They are:

    • Difficulty with feeding
    • Bluish lips and nail beds at birth
    • Periods of bluish pale skin when crying or feeding
    • Infants smaller than expected for their age
    • Difficulty breathing, especially with exertions

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