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Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Adult Congenital Heart Disease

IMS | Juris Medicus has medical professionals who specialize in the study, care, and treatment of congenital heart disease (CHD) – a condition that encompasses a range of birth defects that affect how a heart normally functions.

The term “congenital” means the condition is present at the time of birth and requires lifelong monitoring and treatment.

The cause of congenital heart disease is unknown in most cases. Researchers have determined there are factors that may increase the risk of a heart defect. Such considerations include:

  • Alcohol and drug use during pregnancy
  • Certain medications including some acne medications and statins
  • Chromosome defects
  • Contracting rubella during pregnancy
  • Down’s syndrome
  • The mother having poorly controlled Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes

Symptoms of congenital heart disease can be apparent at any age, but babies and children are at particularly high risk. Examples include:

  • A blue tinge to the lips or skin (cyanosis)
  • Extreme fatigue and tiredness
  • Rapid breathing and heart rate
  • Swelling of the legs, stomach, or around the eyes
  • Rapid breathing or tiredness when a baby is feeding

Although there are several types of congenital heart defects, physicians consider the most common to be:

  • Coarctation of the aorta: When the aorta, the largest artery of the body, is narrower than normal.
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis: When the pulmonary valve, which controls the flow of blood out of the lower right chamber of the heart to the lungs, is narrower than normal.
  • Septal defects: When there is a hole between two of the heart’s chambers.
  • Transposition of the great arteries: When the aortic and pulmonary valves are not connected, leading the arteries they are connected with to swap positions.
  • Underdeveloped heart: when part of the heart has not developed properly, which makes it difficult for the heart to pump enough blood throughout the body and lungs.

Treatment for congenital heart disease is dependent on the magnitude of the defect. Mild defects, such as a hole in the heart, are routinely monitored, yet rarely operated on as they are unlikely to cause further problems. More advanced defects require surgical intervention.

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