Understanding Heart Failure:
The function of a healthy heart is to pump blood and maintain optimal blood flow throughout the body. Heart failure in a child occurs when the organ fails to function normally. This means that a sufficient amount of oxygenated blood does not reach the vital body tissues and it may be leaking back up into the lungs. This absence of regular blood circulation makes the heart work harder leading to heart failure.
What Causes Heart Failure in Children?
Congenital heart defects are the most common reason for heart failure in children. The primary causes of child heart failure include:
Heart failure in babies symptoms differs from patient to patient. The common symptoms include:
Several risk factors and complications can arise due to baby heart failure. They are:
Diagnosis of Heart Failure in Children:
Pediatric cardiologists prescribe the following tests for the diagnosis of heart failure in a child:
Heart failure in a child is treated depending on how serious the symptoms are. In some cases, medications are enough whereas some types of child heart failure need to be operated to fix the defects. In children with congenital heart diseases, surgical procedures are done at infancy itself.
Medicines for baby heart failure should include the following drugs:
Pediatric Heart Surgery:
Pacemaker – Heart failure in children is sometimes treated with small, battery-operated devices that are placed under the skin with a wire connected to the heart. When heart failure in babies symptoms start to show, some children need these artificial pacemakers to help the heart pump blood at the normal rate.
Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy is a special type of pacemaker that is prescribed to patients who show symptoms of long-term child heart failure.
Heart failure in children caused as a result of congenital defects requires invasive surgery at infancy. Such procedures include:
Outlook and Prognosis:
The prognosis for children with heart failure depends on how well they respond to medicines, surgery, and post-surgical treatments. It is also dependent on the age of the child and the severity of symptoms. Long-term outlook should involve:
Heart Failure in Children FAQs:
Occurrences of heart failure in babies symptoms like breathing trouble, edema, and excessive fatigue are indications of the heart condition getting serious which means you should call the pediatric cardiologist immediately.
The most common cause of child heart failure is congenital heart defects which refer to the deformation of the heart muscles right from birth.
With proper medical care and a healthy lifestyle, children can live near-normal lives.
Early treatment is the main answer to preventing the most serious cases of heart failure in children. As newer medicines and techniques become available, infants diagnosed with child heart failure often go on to live healthy lives as an adult.
Dr. Nagamalesh U M, Senior Consultant – Cardiology – Adult, Heart Transplant, M S Ramaiah Narayana Heart Centre, M S Ramaiah Nagar