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Through the Little Hearts program we aim to save lives of babies with heart defects from under privileged section of society in association with Wockhardt Hospital.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As parents, which warning signs and symptoms we should look for: 

1) Blue baby: Bluish discoloration of tongue, finger and toes

2) Inability of child to breast feed, excessive breathing

3) Excessive sweating, poor weight gain    

4) Recurrent cough/cold/fever or pneumonia

5) Easy fatigability while playing or exercise.

What is the importance of congenital heart defects? 

Many of these conditions are potentially fatal within a few weeks of life after birth if untreated. They are the leading cause of death in neonates, infants and toddlers. Now almost all of these defects have good therapy which will definitely improve life expectancy.

The most common CHDs are:

● Ventricular Septal Defect

This is the commonest heart disease. In this defect, there is a hole in partition between right and left pumping chambers of heart. Inability to breast feed, heavy breathing, sweating, poor weight gain and recurrent pneumonia are the most common symptoms of this defect which generally appear by 1 to 2 months of age. 

● Atrial Septal Defect

There is a hole in partition of upper chambers of heart. Symptoms generally appear in first or second year of life. There is shortness of breath, easy fatigability, poor weight gain, etc. Some times this defect is not detected till late adolescence or adulthood.

● Patent Ductus Arteriosus

It is a natural communication present in a foetus while in womb. If it fails to close within a few days after birth it can lead to symptoms like inability to breast feed, poor weight gain, labored breathing, sweating, pneumonias etc. Mostly a premature baby can suffer from PDA immediately after birth.      

● Tetralogy of Fallot

It is a complex heart defect characterized by a large hole in partition of pumping chambers of heart and a narrowing of vessel & valve connecting to lung. Impure blood coming from body does not go to lung in sufficient quantity for purification and it is shunted back to body. Fingers, toes, tongue etc appears bluish which increases on crying and physical activity.

● Transposition of great arteries

This is one of the serious defects where the position of blood vessels arising from heart and going to lung and body is reversed. Impure blood returning from body goes back to body without purification, while pure blood returning from lungs goes back to lungs again. Neonate are born blue at birth. Survival is dependent upon adequate communication between two sides of heart. 

● Total anomalous pulmonary venous return, Truncus arteriosus, Complete AV Canal etc

These are very complex defects. Neonate present blue fingers, tongue and toes along with respiratory distress, sweating and poor weight gain - requiring early operative correction for survival. 

● Single ventricle

In these types of defects, instead of four there are only three chambers in heart. Blue baby, breathing difficulty are common presenting symptoms. Only a few centers can handle such cases due to complex nature of the defects.

● Aortic stenosis, Coarctation of aorta

There is a severe obstruction to outflow of blood from left sided pumping chamber of heart. Body gets less amount of blood. Babies will present within a few days of life with cold skin, respiratory distress, sudden lethargy etc. If untreated, these conditions are fatal within matter of a few hours to days.    

● Pulmonary atresia

Valve guarding pulmonary artery is absent. The blood flow to lung is dependent upon ductus arteriosus. If it constricts, newborn becomes progressively blue. This condition  needs immediate attention. 

Do these heart defects have any remedy? Does heart surgeries and trans catheter intervention really help? 

Advances in heart surgeries and trans catheter interventions have dramatically changed outlook of babies with these defects. Anomalies which were once considered inoperable or irreparable now have great remedies. Neonates and infants who used to suffer a lot for lack of treatment can now lead a near normal life after undergoing successful treatment ( more than 95% success rate even for most complex surgeries). Most common defects like ASD, VSD, PDA are cured after surgery. Their heart is almost like any other healthy one. Even very complex defects like TOF, TGA, if treated in time, have near normal survival rates. 

To achieve best results, timely surgery is most important step. Delay of a few days or weeks can be fatal in many cases. For complex defects like TGA, pulmonary atresia, neonates have to undergo surgery within first few hours or days of life.  Almost one third to one half babies with congenital heart defects require surgery before first birthday for survival. 

The congenital heart defect surgery is performed by the trained & competent Paediatric Cardiac team at Wockhardt Hospital, South Mumbai.

Eligibility criteria for the surgery :

● Children of the age 0 to 15 years.

● Verification of age proof and medical reports of the children.

● Verification of income and residence proof of the parent.

The Little Hearts programme of Wockhardt Foundation plans to give financial help to more and more children from under privileged strata of society with congenital heart diseases and save the young lives.

Paediatric Cardiac Team in Operation Theatre

What are congenital heart diseases?  

Congenital Heart Defect ( CHD) is a defect in the structure of the heart and blood vessels which is present since birth. It can affect any part of heart like partitions

between two sides, valves, vessels, any chamber or any combination of these. In some conditions symptoms can appear immediately after birth while in others they may appear after several days to months. For us it is important to recognize the warning signs and symptoms at earliest and seek timely medical help.

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