CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES IN CHILDREN

CAUSES

  • Most cardiac diseases in young children are congenital
  • While those in older children may be acquired or congenital.
  • The heart may also be affected by systemic disorders like pneumonia, anaemia, electrolyte imbalances and
    malnutrition.

Clinical Features

The clinical features depend on the severity of the lesion or defect in the heart.

  • Minimal lesions or defects may only be discovered on routine examination
  • Functional disability.
  • Easy fatigability
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Frequent interruptions of breastfeeding accompanied by sweating may be the manifestation in
    infants.
  • Poor weight gain and poor growth. The affected children have stature and nutrition that is usually below the average for the age
  • Frequent respiratory infections.

Physical examination

Consists of evaluation of pulses in all limbs and of blood pressure, apex beat, and heart sounds, and inspection of the precordium is
likely to detect the specific cardiac lesion.

  • The presence of a murmur indicates presence of a defect but does not indicate its size.
  • Cyanosis and digital clubbing are often noted in children with cyanotic heart diseases.
  • Parents can usually notice that the affected child has a problem, although they may not be able to localize the problem.
  • A young baby who gets tired quickly or who has to pause many times while breastfeeding, who looks breathless or is not
    growing well, or who has a darkish bluish tinge on the lips and tongue should be suspected to have a heart problem and should be taken to a health facility for examination.
  • Innocent murmurs occur at any age, but are commonest among neonates.