Heart Disease in Children

July 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Heart Disease

Children are the least expected to get heart disease since heart attacks usually only happen with old people. Unfortunately, this is not the case. As heart-wrenching as it sounds, children can get heart disease, as well. There are two different kinds of heart disease for children: congenital heart disease and acquired heart disease. Congenital heart disease is a heart disease that has been there since birth. Acquired heart disease, on the other one, is the heart disease that developed through childhood and could have been cause by other minor ailments.

The most common congenital heart diseases are: ductus arteriosis, ventricular septal defects, and atrial septal defects. Acquired heart disease could be there due to heart sac infection, rheumatic fever, endocarditis infection or the Kawasaki disease. Kawasaki disease can be found in children below five years of age, while rheumatic fever can be prevented with vaccination. Rheumatic fever may be fatal, but its effects can damage the entire body for years without notice, mostly the heart muscle, which causes heart disease.

One percent of babies are born with some kind of heart disease. These congenital heart diseases are oftentimes outgrown or treated with surgery. Even babies with horrible defects can do well after surgery. The defect should really be tried to repair before the babies are old enough to live normally. Some babies may need several surgeries before reaching normalcy, however.

Do know that congenital heart diseases could not have been prevented, no matter what. A lot of parents think that maybe high school marijuana sessions or excessive drinking may have led to their children’s congenital heart disease, but this is not the case. Defects like congenital heart disease just happen due to mere genetics.

It may be a bit tricky to test children for heart disease because of their size. Catheterization, in particular, is very tricky since a child has smaller blood vessels than an adult and the catheter has to be threaded through blood vessels into the heart. This is done to get samples and to shoot dye into the heart to complete special x-rays to see the heart disease.

Some testing procedures that children may have to go through include blood tests, echocardiograms, x-rays and electrocardiograms to see if they have congenital heart disease or acquired heart disease. Every child is different, so the tests may differ from one child to another. The medical staff makes sure that these testing experiences are anything but traumatic. These tests are needed, though, so that doctors will know if surgery will be required or if certain non-invasive procedures should be tried out first.