Congenital heart disease, or congenital heart defect, is a general term used to describe defects and problems with the heart and great vessels that are in present from birth. It is the most common type of birth defect, affecting 9 out of every 1000 newborns, and causing the most birth defect-related deaths. In many cases, nothing or very little occurs as a result of having the disorder, but some instances require immediate surgery or long-term medication and treatment.
Even though the defect is present at birth, symptoms in a child with congenital heart disease may not appear for a lengthy period. These often include shortness of breath, under-developed limbs and muscles, poor growth and respiratory infections. Some cases result in cyanosis, in which the skin turns a shade of blue or purple due to lack of oxygen in skin tissues. “Heart murmurs,” or odd sounds made by turbulent blood flow in or near the heart, may also be experienced.
Since the signs of congenital heart disease are usually apparent during an ultrasound, pediatric heart specialists are made available for the birth to provide immediate medical care, which allows even extreme cases of heart-related birth defects to very rarely have fatal repercussions. However, since the disease is considered genetic, it can theoretically be avoided entirely by refraining from smoking, drinking, or using illegal substances during pregnancy. Women with diabetes and other blood-related illnesses are also at risk.
All heart defects cause either a disruption of blood flow in the heart or nearby vessels or an abnormal pattern of blood flow through the heart. This is what can cause either mild symptoms that create no great inconvenience or severe situations of heart failure that can even be life-threatening. If you would like more information about long term disability benefits that can be received for diseases such as this, call Nick Ortiz at (888) 321-8131 for assistance.