Published On: Wed, Jan 30th, 2013

How To Deal With Holes In The Heart?

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Babies with a hole in the heart:

Some babies may have been born with holes in the heart. All holes are not dangerous though and all of them do not require surgery. In some cases surgery is required. So everyone should be aware of the holes in the heart.

Around 8 out of 1000 children may have defects in heart at birth and the reasons for these cannot be known in most cases. The child may get such problems due to the genetic changes or when the pregnant mom is suffering from Rubella virus infection.

It is common in children that there will be a hole between the two atria (auricles). When the foetus is growing in the mother’s womb, the lungs will not be functional, the hole named ‘Foramen Ovale’ helps in preventing the entry of blood into the lungs and helps in circulation and breathing.

When the birth takes place and when the infant is breathing this hole starts closing. In some it may get delayed. There will be no problem with this hole. When it is not closed or if there is hole between two ventricles or in their walls or between atria and ventricles, this should be considered as holes in the heart.

Holes in the Heart

Holes in the Heart

ASD (Atrial Septal Defect)

When there is hole between two atria, it is called as Atrial Septal Defect. This may be due to non closure of foramen ovale or due to other holes on the same wall. If pressure is more on the left side, then the blood flows through this hole toward the right side and as a result, the right auricle becomes large.

Due to this, difficulty in breathing, fast heart beat and growth will also be reduced. The symptoms may not be observed even though there is hole from childhood itself. With increasing age, the problems arises due to large right atrium. They generally get closed in two years in about 40% of the people. But if it is not closed and if the right atrium becomes large, then operation should be done. Operation is performed by sending a small pipe through the blood vessels and closing the hole. If this surgery is performed at a small age, then the heart regains its normal size in about 4-6 months.

VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect)

When the hole is formed in the wall between the two ventricles, it is called as Ventricular Septal Defect. Generally the left ventricle pumps oxygenated blood to all body parts, but when there is hole between the two ventricles, the blood goes to the right ventricle and from there to the lungs due to which the blood vessels which are present in the lungs get damaged. Because of this hole, the ventricles work forcefully and the heart becomes larger.

Due to this the skin gets pale, there will be difficulty in breathing, faster pulse rate, lung infections are observed and growth will be reduced. These holes get closed in seven years generally. In some it will remain as small holes and do not create problems. But if the hole is big, operation should be done. For the temporary relief, a band is tied to the artery which carries blood to the lungs so that blood flow is reduced and the pressure is decreased on the lungs. When the child grows, the band is removed and the chest is opened and the hole is closed.

Canal Defects

Sometimes the holes are observed in the walls of the heart, these are called as canal defects. Children with canal defects cannot breathe properly and their growth is also reduced. For them, operation is performed in the early months itself and the problems are corrected.

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