Heart defects

Heart defects.  Photo from www.sciencephoto.com

What is it?

The normal heart — is a powerful, constantly working the muscle pump. The size of it is a little more human fist.

The heart has four chambers: two atria are called the upper and lower two — ventricles. Blood series comes from the atria to the ventricles, and then into the main artery through the four heart valves. Valves open and close the blood flowing in one direction only.

Heart defects — it is congenital or acquired changes in the structures of the heart (valves, partitions, walls, waste receptacles) violating the blood flow inside the heart or on the big and small circles of blood circulation.

Why did this happen?

All heart defects are divided into two groups: Congenital andacquired.

Congenital heart defects occur in the period from the second to the eighth week of pregnancy, and are found in5-8 thousands of infants.

The causes of most birth defects cardiovascular systems still remain unknown. However, it is known that the presence of one child in a family with a heart disease risk of having other children with this type of defect increases slightly, but still remains relatively low — between 1 and 5 percent. Congenital heart defects can also be caused by exposure to radiation on the body of the mother, be a result of the reception of alcohol during pregnancy, drugs, certain medications (drugs lithium, warfarin). Also dangerous viral and other infections carried a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy (rubella, influenza, hepatitis B).

Recent studies have shown that children of women who suffer from being overweight or obese, 36 percent more at risk to be born with congenital heart disease and other disorders of the cardiovascular system than children of women with normal weight. The reason for the connection between weight and the mother's risk of developing heart disease in their children's future is not yet established.

The most common causes of acquired heart disease are rheumatic fever and infective endocarditis, at least — atherosclerosis, trauma or syphilis.

What are the defects of the heart?

The most common and severe Congenital can be divided into two main groups. The first group includes heart disease, caused by the presence of detours (shunts) because of which comes from the lungs oxygen-rich blood is pumped back into the lungs. This increases as the load on the right ventricle and the blood vessels that carry blood to the lungs. For such defects include:

  • patent ductus arteriosus — a vessel in which fetal blood bypasses the lungs is not working;
  • atrial septal defect (hole between the preservation of the two atria at the time of birth);
  • ventricular septal defect (the gap between the left and right ventricles).

Another group of malformations associated with the presence of obstruction to blood flow, resulting in an increased workload on the heart. These include, for example, coarctation (narrowing) of the aorta, or narrowing (stenosis), pulmonary or aortic heart valves.

Valvular insufficiency (expansion valve opening, in which the closed valve leaflets do not close completely, letting blood in the opposite direction) in adults can manifest as a result of the gradual degeneration of the valves at the two types of congenital disorders:

  • 1 percent of people arterial valve has not three but only two flaps
  • at 5-20percent meets mitral valve prolapse. It is not dangerous for the life of the disease rarely leads to severe valve insufficiency.

On top of these cardiac troubles, many types of congenital disorders of the heart and blood vessels are not only individually but also in combination. For example, tetralogy of Fallot, the most common cause of cyanosis (cyanosis) of the child, — a combination of four heart defects immediately: ventricular septal defect, narrowing of the output of the right ventricle (pulmonary artery stenosis), increase (hypertrophy) of the right ventricle and the aorta bias.

Acquired formed as a stenosis or insufficiency of heart valves. Most often affects the mitral valve (located between the left atrium and ventricle), at least — aortic (between the left ventricle and the aorta), even more rarely — tricuspid (between the right atrium and ventricle) andvalve pulmonary artery (between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery).

Valvular disease can also be combined (when affected more than 2 valves) and combined (when one valve stenosis and present events, and failure).

How to manifest vices?

With congenital heart disease, some time after the birth of a baby may look outwardly quite healthy. However, this seeming prosperity rarely lasts longer than until the third year of life. Subsequently, the disease begins to manifest itself: the child is lagging behind in physical development, shortness of breath during physical exertion, pallor or cyanosis of the skin.

For the so-called "blue-vices" are typical attacks that occur suddenly: there are anxious, excited child, growing shortness of breath and blueness of the skin (cyanosis), possible loss of consciousness. These attacks are more common in young children (up to two years). They are also characterized by a favorite holiday squatting posture.

"Pale" defects appear retarded the lower half of the body and the appearance of age8-12 years of complaints of headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, pain in the heart, stomach and legs.


Diagnosis of heart defects involved cardiologist and cardiac surgeon. The method allows echocardiography with ultrasound examine the condition of the heart muscles and valves, to estimate the rate of blood flow in the cavities of the heart. To clarify the state of the heart using x-ray (chest shot) and ventriculography — using a special X-ray contrast medium.

When the study of the heart is required by an electrocardiogram (ECG) is often used methods based on it: Stress ECG (Veloergometry,treadmill test)— Record the electrocardiogram during exercise andHolter-ECG monitoring — is the ECG recording, which takes place during the day.


Currently, many of the defects of the heart amenable to surgical treatment, which enables further normal life. Most of these transactions are at a standstill heart with the use of cardiopulmonary bypass (AIC). People with acquired heart basic methods of surgical treatment are mitral commissurotomy and valve replacement.


Preventive measures that are guaranteed to have saved you from a heart defect does not exist. However, you can greatly reduce the risk of acquiring blemish prevention and timely treatment of streptococcal infections (which is often a sore throat), because it is on their soil develops rheumatism. If rheumatic fever has occurred, do not neglect bitsillinoprofilaktikoy that prescribed by your doctor.

People at risk of infective endocarditis (for example, suffered rheumatic fever in the past or who have mitral valve prolapse) is required prophylactic antibiotics before certain different manipulations, such as tooth extraction, tonsils, adenoids, and other operations. Such prevention requires serious attention, it is far easier to prevent vice heart than to cure it. Especially because no matter how improved technology operations, a healthy heart is working much better operated on.

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