Pediatric Heart Surgeon Dr. Kamal Pourmoghadam explains Heart Symptoms in Children
Did you know that one in every 100 children suffer from a heart problem? In a new article, physician and surgeon Dr. Kamal Pourmoghadam explains children's heart symptoms in layman's terms.
By: Dr. Kamal Pourmoghadam
At times, it is difficult to identify a heart defect, and many children continue to live a normal life with little to no problems. However, in some cases, children may find difficulty in performing normal tasks such as running or walking due to a heart problem. This happens when the heart problem goes undetected at an earlier stage and becomes a huge health concern later on in life. Hence, heart defects must be treated as soon as possible and to detect them in the first place, the following are some symptoms that you must watch out for.
Heart problems can occur in infants, toddlers, and older children, and these children may exhibit the following symptoms concerning heart defects:
* Feeling out of breath when feeding milk
* Becoming sweaty during feeds
* Gums or tongue turning blue
* Passing out
* Failing to stay as active as other children
* Feeling fatigued and getting out of breath during simple activities as compared to other kids of that age
* Getting sweaty quicker than other kids. Sometimes after even less activity than other children.
* Blue skin color (gums/tongue)
* Frequent fainting
* Chest pain while performing exercises
* Fatigue and dizziness
* Passing out
* Swelling in the legs, abdomen, and skin around the eyes
* Shortness of breath during exercise or while playing sports
* Getting tired easily
If you observe any of these symptoms of a heart problem, take your child to your GP. They will refer you to a pediatric cardiologist – children's heart specialist. The children's heart specialist will perform the necessary tests to diagnose the type of heart defect your child is suffering from. There is nothing to worry about when getting these tests done as they are quick, simple, and painless.
Some of the tests that a pediatric cardiologist will conduct are:
* Chest X-ray which is a simple X-ray to identify any hole or lump in the chest.
* An ECG is another test in which wires are attached using sticky dots on the chest, arms, and legs. These wires diagnose the electrical activity of the heart. This test takes only a few minutes and doesn't cause any sort of pain. However, your child will be required to stay composed during the test.
* An ultrasound scan, known as an echocardiogram, will also be conducted. In this type of test, a handheld scanner scans the chest and stomach and presents your child's heart's image on a TV monitor. In this test, your child may feel pressure as the scanner is pressed firmly against the skin. So, it can be uncomfortable. However, it is not painful.
Some common treatments for heart defects are medicines, surgery, and procedures like using a catheter to stop blood from flowing in between the chambers, etc.
*** Dr. Kamal Pourmoghadam is a pediatric cardiac surgeon at The Heart Center at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. He is board certified in general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery and congenital cardiac surgery.
Dr. Kamal Pourmoghadam