Heart Disease - Diagnose When Young
There are 150,000 to200,000 children born each year with congenital heart disease in India. Apollo Cradle can now, using advanced technology find out whether or not a baby has a heart problem, even when the mother is pregnant. Tests can be performed at 18 weeks of gestation to decide on a course of action.
Look Out For The Signs
After birth, infants who do not gain weight, whose heartbeat is faster than normal, or those who turn blue or suffer from infections, need to have tests done, or consult a paediatric cardiologist. Treatment options are a plenty currently. Open heart surgeries, surgeries using pin-hole technique etc. are some of the options available now.
Following some of the procedures, the infant needs to stay in hospital for just one day and is discharged thereafter. The infant can stay healthy lifelong with no problems, if the right treatment is offered. In most cases, these conditions are rectified 100 per cent with total correction of defects and the child can thereafter lead a normal life.
- Paediatricians and paediatric cardiologists are most likely to see the child first and diagnose the cardiac problem.
- Clinical examination by the doctors guides them to a diagnosis.
- Baseline investigations such as X-ray of the chest and ECG substantiate the diagnosis. ECG (ultra sound of the heart) confirms the diagnosis in most instances. This provides sufficient data for the cardiologist and/or cardiac surgeon to decide on the treatment.
- Additional data may be obtained by other investigations such as 64-slice CT angiogram, cardiac MRI, cardiac catheterization and angiography.
- All school going children should undergo routine health check-up. Those with symptoms and signs of cardiac diseases should be referred to cardiologists for further evaluation.
- Parents of children with congenital heart disease should be adequately counselled on the importance of regular follow-up and of subjecting the children to intervention or surgery at the appropriate time.
- Donations should be sought from organizations to fund surgery for children who cannot afford it.
- Though rheumatic heart disease is not congenital, it is a preventable condition. The same bacteria that cause sore throat can induce a response that can affect a child's heart and damage the valves permanently. Every child with a sore throat should be evaluated by a physician and treated appropriately. Walk in to your nearby Apollo Cradle and get an expert view on the condition of your child.
*Remember: Precaution is better than cure.