Pediatric Heart Conditions

Some children are born with heart problems, known as  congenital heart disease. They occur as a result of malformation of the heart  during development in the womb. The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics  reports that the most common types of heart conditions in children are  structural heart defects such as congenital heart defects. Heart disease in  children can also be acquired from illnesses such rheumatic fever and Kawasaki  disease.

Holes in the Heart

Two common congenital heart diseases are atrial septal  defect and ventricular septal defect. In atrial septal defect, there is a hole  between the two atria of the heart. In ventricular septal defect, there is a  hole between the two ventricles. These holes cause oxygenated blood to move from  the left side of the heart to the right side and then to the lungs. This can  lead to accumulation of blood in the lungs and heart failure if the hole is big.  If the hole is small, a child may experience no symptoms. Despite this fact, the  Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute advises that children with small holes in  the heart should be monitored by a cardiologist.

Some children are born with heart problems like  pulmonary valvular stenosis and coarctation the the aorta. These conditions  obstruct the flow of blood through the heart. Normally blood flows from the  right ventricle into the lungs through the pulmonary artery. There is a valve  between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery. When this valve is stenosed,  or narrow, blood isn’t able to move freely  to the lungs. This condition is  known as pulmonary valvular stenosis, and it can lead to low blood oxygen  levels, along with fatigue. The aorta supplies oxygenated blood to every part of  the body. In coarctation of the aorta, part of the aorta is narrow, which  prevents free blood flow. It can also lead to low oxygen in the blood.

Acquired Heart Diseases

Children acquire heart diseases due to factors like  infection and for also unknown reasons. Kawasaki disease and rheumatic fever are  the two major causes of acquired heart disease in children living in the United  States, notes the American Heart Association. The cause of Kawasaki disease is  unknown, but it typically affects children younger than five years and occurs  more frequently in boys. It causes inflammation of the heart and damages the  coronary arteries and heart valves. Kawasaki disease can lead to a heart attack.  Rheumatic heart disease is caused by a throat infection and leads to damaged  heart valves. It usually occurs in children between five and 15 years old.