Did you know?
Congenital heart disease in children usually presents itself in a number of ways. Cyanosis, a bluish discoloration of the skin or mucous membranes caused
by lack of oxygen in the blood, and heart failure, or a combination of the two, are both symptoms of CHD. Heart murmurs, circulatory shock, stridor, and
hypercyanotic spells are all indicative of congenital heart defects, as are recurrent respiratory tract infections, chest pain, and growth failure (Joshi, 2006).
Older children with CHD may tire quickly, be short of breath, or faint easily when they exert themselves. Children with congenital heart disease are prone
to malnutrition because they may have decreased energy intake, increased energy requirements, or both. The severity of malnutrition can range from mild
under-nutrition to failure to thrive (Varan et al., 1998).
Without early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment for cardiac lesions, about one in three infants with CHD are expected to die within the first month of life (Thakur et al., 1997). Vaidyanathan and Kumar (2005) cite studies in which children born with severe forms of CHD are 12 times more likely to die within their first year, particularly if the heart defects are missed in the first month after birth (information provided by the Children’s Heartlink global report).