What is Congenital Heart Disease or CHD?

A baby’s heart development starts very early in pregnancy and almost completed at 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy. If any derangement occurs at this crucial time period, then the baby will be born with heart defects. That is known as Congenital heart disease or CHD.

Is congenital heart disease (CHD) is a rare disease?

No, heart defect is the most common birth defect.

If 1000 babies are born, then 8 to 12 babies are born with a heart problem. Every year nearly 13 lakhs new babies are born with heart disease globally.

What is the Indian scenario?

In India 2 to 2.5 lakes babies are born with heart defects every year. Unfortunately, we are having only 63 centres are there to take care of this type of babies. Among those centres, only 10 centres are highly equipped and can do large no of cases (500/ years cardiac surgeries).

How many properly trained pediatric cardiac doctors are available in India?

According to all India institute, about 130 properly trained ped cardiologist and 110 cardiac surgeons are there to take care of such kids. Which is obviously not adequate for such huge no of CHD kids. That is the reason large no of Heart disease kids are dying every day without proper diagnosis and treatment.

How do parents understand that their babies are suffering from heart problems?

1) If your baby is not gaining weight properly
2) Baby is suffering from repetitive cough and cold (respiratory tract infection)
3) Feeding difficulties
4) Excessive sweating
Then there is a probability that this specific baby is suffering from a heart problem.

But surprisingly some of the heart disease babies may not manifest any external signs. When a child specialist put a stethoscope on the chest at the time of routine care. He/ she may suspect heart disease and after doing proper echocardiography heart disease is diagnosed.

But if the specific baby is turning “BLUE ” at rest or while crying then this is an emergency. Likely that baby is suffering from a complex problem in the heart. Better to consult pediatric cardiologist urgently.

Is congenital heart disease curable?

Yes. Absolutely. Most of the time nowadays due to advancement of technology hole in heart and valve blockage can successfully be cured by microsurgery ( hole in the heart can be closed by DEVICE and valve can be opened up by balloon) that means without open-heart surgery.
On the other hand, the blue baby syndrome is mostly be treated with open-heart surgery with an excellent outcome.

Is it possible to know heart disease before birth?

Yes. By “fetal echo” which is a kind of ultrasound done in pregnancy between 18-20 weeks. We can diagnose a heart problem before birth.

What is the advantage of knowing the heart problem before birth?

Some of the heart disease babies may die within a couple of days after birth if we don’t treat them at the proper time. Those babies need special attention. Their birth should be taken place in a properly equipped hospital with pediatric cardiac facilities.

Is congenital heart disease only occur in children?

No, in India and subcontinent large no of adults are also suffering from heart problem which is present from birth.

Why they don’t get treated?

Most of the time they are scared of open-heart surgery. But nowadays most of the hole in heart and valve problem can be treated by “Device” closure or by “balloon dilatation”. The patient can go home within 48 hours of successful DEVICE closure or BALLOON dilatation.

Dr. Mahua Roy | Consultant – Cardiology-Paediatric | Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, Kolkata

Narayana Health

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