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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 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 fatigue
  • What is Ventricular Septal Defect?

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

    A ventricular septal defect usually results in the flow of oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle into the right ventricle. This can lead to extra burden for the left chamber, as it needs to work harder to pump sufficient oxygen-rich blood into the body. In cases where there is a large defect, a reversal of blood flow may occur and result in oxygen-depleted blood to be recirculated into the body. 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 is a common complex congenital heart disease. It involves the existence of 4 congenital defects in the heart:

    • Ventricular septal defect
    • Overriding aorta – The aortic valve is enlarged and connected to both the left and right ventricle, as opposed to only the left ventricle in a normal heart
    • Pulmonary stenosis – Narrowing of the pulmonary valve and artery, which is responsible for delivering blood from the right ventricle to the lungs
    • 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, as there may be additional congenital defects in their heart structure. The combination of these 4 defects results in oxygen-depleted blood being recirculated in the body and 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
    • Spells of bluish pale skin when crying or feeding
    • Infants smaller than expected for ag
    • Difficulty breathing, especially with exertions

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