Sunday, July 17, 2011

Congenital Heart Defect (CHD)

A congenital heart defect is a defect present at birth. One in every 100 – 150 children are born with a CHD. CHD’s are the most common birth defects in the United States. There are roughly 35 different types of CHD’s. There is no cure for any of them.

Ventricular Septal Defect, referred to as VSD, is the most common of the CHD’s with approximately 1 in 8 of children born with a CHD having this defect. Bascially, it is a hole that is between the right and left ventricles of the heart.

More children die of CHD’s than from all the childhood cancers combined. Only one penny of every dollar donated to the American Heart Association is used for CHD research. The Children’s Heart Foundation is the only organization strictly for CHD research.

Your heart has two sides, separated by an inner wall called the septum. Each side of your heart has an upper and lower chamber. The lower right chamber of your heart, the right ventricle, pumps blood to your pulmonary arteries. The blood than travels to your lungs where it picks up oxygen. The upper left chamber of your heart, the left atrium, receives the oxygen rich blood from your lungs. The blood is then pumped into the lower chamber of your heart, the left ventricle. From the left ventricle the blood is pumped to the rest of your body through an artery called the aorta.

In Nicole’s case she has a VSD. It is large about 2 1/2 cm at its widest point. It is clearly visible on the sonogram. I’ve been told she has two other smaller holes but I’m not sure where they are. In most cases, this heart defect should be detected within the first two years of life. Some holes, if small, will close on their own. For large holes, like Nicole’s, open heart surgery is required to close it. The major sign of this heart defect is a heart murmur which Nicole doesn’t have. I’m told it is because her hole is so large. There are other symptoms which looking back on she had most of them. If her first pediatrician hadn’t been such an idiot or didn’t think I was just being paranoid she would have had it diagnosed. There were many other slip ups and incidents when it should have been diagnosed but wasn’t. Only God knows why.

Eisenmenger’s Syndrome by definition is secondary to an uncorrected CHD that leads to pulmonary hypertension (PH), reversal of flow and cynosis (blueness). The previous left to right shunting is converted to right to left shunting which is the reversal of flow which is what causes the blueness

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