Heart failure

Heart failure in infants: signs, causes and treatment

Heart failure in infants is rare, but it can occur. One potential cause is congenital heart defects (CHD). These are problems with the structure of the heart that are present from birth. Coronary heart disease affects 8 in 1,000 live births, but only 20% of these children will experience heart failure.

This information comes from a study 2016.

Another cause of heart failure in this age group is cardiomyopathy, a condition that affects the heart muscle and makes it difficult for blood to pump to the body. It affects about 8 in 100,000 infants each year.

Symptoms of heart failure include eating problems, difficulty breathing, excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, and rapid breathing.

This article discusses the incidence, outlook, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of heart failure in infants. It also offers recommendations for growing up with heart failure and tips for parents and caregivers.

The term “heart failure” does not mean that the heart has stopped working. Instead, it means the organ isn’t working as efficiently as it should. This happens when the heart can not fills with enough blood or is too weak to pump properly.

Usually, a person’s heart receives oxygen-poor blood and then sends it to the lungs for oxygenation. The oxygenated blood then returns to the heart, which pumps it to meet the body’s needs.

In heart failure, an abnormality in structure or function leads to failure supply oxygen to the body at the necessary rate. Another name for the condition is “congestive heart failure”.

Very few infants develop heart failure. One of the main causes is coronary artery disease, which is changes in the structure of the heart present from birth. Coronary heart disease occurs in 8 in 1,000 births. Heart failure occurs in about 20% of these cases, or about 1.6 in every 1,000 births.

Heart failure in infants can also occur for other reasons. One of them is cardiomyopathy, which has an annual incidence rate of about 8 per 100,000 in infants less than 1 year old.

Statistics on heart failure survival rates in infants vary by cause. Some causes of these events are more serious and difficult to treat than others.

The most serious cause is critical coronary artery disease. Infants with this type of heart problem need surgery or corrective procedures in 1 year of their life.

an older one 2013 study reports that although the outlook for CCHD has improved in recent decades, the mortality rate among infants remains high.

The 1-year survival rate between 1994 and 2005 was 82.5%. This means that more than 80% of the children survived more than one year.

However, the outlook is more negative for infants with heart failure due to cardiomyopathy. Approximately 50% of people with dilated cardiomyopathy are at risk of dying or needing a heart transplant within the first 5 years.

Some potential signs of heart problems in infants include:

  • feeding problems
  • respiratory disorders
  • excessive sweating
  • growth problems
  • Low blood pressure

Additional signs may include:

  • a rapid heart rate that exceeds 150 beats per minute
  • a rapid breathing rate that exceeds 50 breaths per minute
  • liver enlargement
  • heartbeat that sounds like the sound of a gallop

There are two main causes heart failure: overcirculation failure and pumping failure.

An overcirculation failure causes

Hypercirculation occurs when there is an overload of blood in the chambers of the heart. Several conditions can cause this.

One of the causes is a mixture of oxygen-poor blood and oxygen-rich blood. For example, a hole between the right and left heart chambers can allow oxygen-rich blood in the left chambers to mix with oxygen-poor blood in the right chambers. Mixing of these two blood types can also occur outside of this organ.

Another cause of heart failure due to excessive circulation is anemia. It can also be from a faulty heart valve that doesn’t close properly, allowing blood to leak back.

The failure of the pump causes

A pump failure means that the heart is not pumping enough blood to meet the body’s needs. The cause can be congenital or something a child acquires after birth.

For example, a congenital disorder of the heart arteries can prevent blood flow to the heart muscle from birth. An acquired cause of pump failure could be a viral infection that a child later contracts, damaging healthy heart muscle. Both types weaken the heart’s ability to pump blood.

A doctor can found a preliminary diagnosis of heart failure based on symptoms. They may also order chest X-rays to check for an enlarged heart.

If heart failure is suspected, the doctor may refer the child to a pediatric or congenital cardiologist, who can order additional tests.

This may include an electrocardiogram to assess heart rhythm and an echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart that assesses the function and structure of the heart.

Treatment for heart failure in infants depends on the cause.

Treatment of overcirculation

Initially, treatment for hypercirculation may involve taking medications, such as diuretics, that reduce excess blood volume and lower blood pressure.

However, if coronary heart disease is the cause of the hypercirculation, surgery is often necessary to prevent too much blood from entering the heart.

Since overcirculation can lead to growth problems, treatment may also include nutritional supplements and dietary changes, such as decreasing salt intake.

Treatment of pump failure

If pump failure is the cause of heart failure in a child, a doctor can recommend:

  • diuretics and other medicines to lower blood pressure and help the heart pump better
  • a pacemaker to correct a slow, fast, or irregular heartbeat
  • medicines to slow a rapid heartbeat
  • radiofrequency ablation, which involves delivering short bursts of radio waves to the part of the heart muscle causing a rapid heartbeat
  • surgery, such as replacing a damaged heart valve

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no cure for many children with coronary artery disease. That means many are growing up with heart failure. To ensure children stay as healthy as possible while living with this condition, the CDC recommends:

  • Maintain medical records: Parents and caregivers can make medical appointments easier by keeping organized records of their child’s condition, including the type of heart disease they have, previous treatments they’ve had, and medications they’ve had. take.
  • Consult the doctor regularly: As a child grows, other heart problems may develop that require additional medications and surgeries. For example, a child may have a higher risk of developing atypical heart rhythms, high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries, or infective endocarditis. Therefore, frequent examinations and screenings are important to treat complications early.
  • Obtain nutritional and dietary advice: Children with coronary artery disease may be shorter and thinner than their peers. Dietary recommendations from a doctor can help encourage weight gain and ensure adequate nutritional intake.
  • Get exercise tips: Regular exercise is important for children to stay healthy, but those with heart failure may need special advice on safe activities. Parents and caregivers should seek advice from their doctor about this.

In addition to taking care of their physical health, it is also important for people to be aware of how serious heart disease can affect children mentally. Parents, caregivers and teachers can play a role in fostering healthy self-esteem, helping children manage their emotions and staying in touch with friends.

Heart failure in infants can come from heart defects and cardiomyopathy. Signs can include rapid heartbeat and breathing, as well as galloping heartbeat and an enlarged heart. Treatment depends on the cause, but it may involve options such as surgery, medication to control blood pressure and a pacemaker.

Heart failure is not common in children, but it is serious. It is important that infants with this condition receive regular medical care throughout their childhood to ensure that they remain as healthy as possible. Parents and caregivers can benefit from advice on nutrition, exercise and developmental support for their child as they grow.