Heart disease in babies is known to affect one in every 100 babies. The term Congenital Heart Defect or CHD is used to describe a range of birth defects that prevent the heart from functioning normally. Babies diagnosed with CHD often require serious treatment.
Either CHD not being diagnosed early in time or the lack of proper treatment can cause disability or even death. Therefore, it is extremely important to frequently consult with a pediatric cardiologist in Dubai in cases of congenital heart defects.
Symptoms of Congenital Heart Defects
Mild Congenital defects may show a few or no signs or symptoms. Severe defects will show certain sign and symptoms depending upon the severity. A GP should be consulted immediately if parents notice any of these signs and symptoms in their baby:
• Blue-tinted nails or lips
• Fast or troubled breathing
• Tiredness when feeding
• Rapid heartbeat
• Rapid breathing
• Swelling of the legs, tummy or around the eyes
• Extreme tiredness and fatigue
• Poor feeding
• Poor weight gain
Causes of Heart Disease in Babies
In most babies the reason for congenital heart disease remains unknown. Among some reasons known to increase the risk of CHD in babies are birth defects such as the Down Syndrome, exposure of the mother to an illness, drugs, alcohol, diabetes, poor nutrition. It is thought that maternal age, smoking, obesity, certain medications, and genetics are also contributing factors. A family history of Congenital Heart Disease poses high risk in babies.
How to Diagnose Heart Disease in Babies
Only some cases of congenital heart disease are diagnosed before a baby is born with the routine ultrasound scan of the baby in the womb. Foetal echocardiology also allows your doctor to see if the baby has heart defects before it is born.
In most cases CHD remains undiagnosed and sometimes these problems may develop shortly after birth. A routine heart checkup after birth as part of the routine newborn examination will pick up heart murmurs while it may take a little while to diagnose other heart defects.
Screening Tests to Detect Heart Disease in Babies
Doctors rely on several diagnostic tests for babies to confirm CHD. These diagnostic tests are listed below:
Echocardiography: This test uses sound waves to take pictures of a babies’ heart. It allows doctors to see how the heart and its valves are functioning.
Electrocardiography ECG: Is another diagnostic test that measures and records the electric wave that travels through the heart. The doctor can then determine whether the electrical activity recorded is normal or abnormal. An ECG result can be an indicator of different heart conditions.
Chest X ray: A chest x ray report detects heart defects. X rays used for babies are safe and are not the same radiation as used for adults.
Pulse Oximetry: This test is painless and applied to all newborn babies to measuring the level of oxygen in their blood. Screening detects CHD. It is easily carried out in 1 to 5 minutes by attaching a probe to either the ear, finger or foot of the baby. It is also the most cost-effective procedure.
Cardiac Catheterization: This test is done on babies with CHD when the risk for open heart surgery is too great. This test can be done immediately after birth and only a specially trained cardiologist can perform it. The results of this test are used to treat CHD.
Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This is painless and safe on babies. A cardiac MRI helps the doctor to detect and monitor CHD. The feed and wrap technique are applied to perform MRI on babies.
The Best Pediatric Cardiologists in Dubai
The German Heart Center is proud to have a strong team of heart doctors in Dubai. Our specialist pediatric cardiologist specializes in all types of heart defects in infants and children. With the latest technology and screening tests, we can effectively diagnose and treat your child to ensure the best quality of life. Book an appointment today!