The Causes and Symptoms of Cyanotic Heart Disease

November 12, 2012

The Causes and Symptoms of Cyanotic Heart Disease

Cyanotic heart disease refers to a congenital defect of the heart that results in very low levels of oxygen in the blood.

The Causes

Normally, the blood leaves the body to flow through the lungs and heart. If the blood lacks oxygen, then it will go straight into the heart’s right side and pump the blood into the lungs, so it can get more oxygen. The blood that is then filled with oxygen will move from the lungs into the heart’s left side and move through the body from there. Now, if a child has a cyanotic heart disease, their blood flows might change through the lungs and heart, also known as shunting. This means that the blood will have less oxygen in it, but will still be sent through the body. This will make the child’s skin look blue, thus the term cyanosis. A lot of the time, heart defects tend to involve the valves of the heart that bring the blood to the heart and out of it. Basically, these valves will open up, so that blood can flow through it and close, so that blood won’t flow backwards. Some defects in the heart valves that could cause cyanosis would include:

  • A missing pulmonary valve or one that won’t open up wide enough for blood to pass through.

  • An aortic valve that won’t open up wide enough for blood to pass through.

  • A missing tricuspid valve or one that won’t open up wide enough for blood to pass through.

  • Ebstein’s anomaly.

  • A complete aorta interruption, also known as coarctation.

  • Fallot tetralogy.

  • A complete return of an anomalous pulmonary vein.

  • A great artery transposition.

  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

  • Truncus arteriosis.

Cyanotic heart diseases, on the other hand, are usually caused by the following things:

  • Chromosomal and genetic synrdomes, like Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, Noonan syndrome, trisomy 13, and Marfan syndrome.

  • Chemical exposure.

  • Poorly controlled levels of blood sugar in pregnant diabetic women.

  • Pregnancy infections, like rubella.

  • Doctor-prescribed medicines during pregnancy.

  • The use of drugs during pregnancy.

The Symptoms

Several heart defects out there cause huge problems post-birth and some of them even cause problems all the way through to adulthood. One of the symptoms of cyanotic heart disease would be cyanosis, which can be seen in the form of bluish lips, toes and fingers. This might happen while the child is either active or resting. Several children will have trouble breathing, as well, and might squat fate physical activities in order to catch their breath. Other children have oxygen starvation spells, the symptoms of which include:

  • Hyperventilation

  • A sudden appearance of the bluish skin color

  • Anxiety Infants might also sweat or get tired while eating and might not gain enough weight.

  • Chest pain and fainting might occur, too.

Other symptoms will depend on the kind of cyanotic heart disease that the child has and might include the following:

  • A reduced appetite or feeding problems that might lead to poor growth

  • A puffy face or puffy eyes

  • Constant fatigue

  • Grayish skin

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