Pediatric advice on congenital heart defects

Pediatric in Gastonia, NC
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Pediatric experts say this is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. Congenital heart defects generally begin at the point in the pregnancy when the heart first forms. A pediatric expert in Gastonia, NC can diagnose the most severe congenital heart defects before or shortly after your child’s birth. The symptoms — bluish or grayish skin, rapid breathing and shortness of breath during feeding, and swelling in the legs, abdomen and around the eyes — are hard to miss, and most parents will need no prompting to call a pediatric expert if they see them.

Less severe defects take longer to emerge and be noticed. If your child seems to have a low tolerance for exercise, quickly becoming tired and short of breath and sometimes fainting, don’t be too quick to interpret it as laziness. This, along with swelling in the extremities, can be a sign of a congenital heart defect, or of some other potentially serious problem. You should ask your pediatric specialist, who will know what tests to administer.

Different forms of heart defects

Heart defects include holes in the walls that separate the chambers of the heart, which reduce the oxygen content of fresh blood, abnormal heart valves and abnormal or obstructed blood vessels. Children with heart defects are at risk of slower growth and development, both physically and mentally. In extreme cases, they can suffer from stroke or congestive heart failure. Even if the defect is corrected through surgery, the scarring may cause arrhythmia problems later on.

Not every heart defect needs to be corrected with surgery. Some of the milder ones can be treated with medications that improve the heart’s efficiency and lower blood pressure. In some cases, children with heart defects are at greater risk of infection in the heart. Your child may need to take antibiotics before surgery or dental work.

Children with heart defects will need to have their health monitored, or to monitor their own health, not just throughout their childhood but throughout their lives. You should listen to your pediatric specialist on how much exercise your child should be allowed to engage in at any point.

A pediatric practice in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a center for pediatric medicine conveniently located west of Charlotte. It is one of the first medical practices for children in the Gastonia area, having been founded in 1956. It has become a local institution, serving three generations of families with personalized care and offers medical advice for parents 24 hours a day. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. Gastonia Pediatrics is owned and directed by its own physicians. If your family needs to find a pediatric practice, call today.