Does My Baby Have Undiagnosed Heart Disease?

If your newborn develops a bluish coloring when they’re feeding – by breast or bottle – William Polzin MD, the director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Good Samaritan Hospital and Co-Director of the Fetal Care Center of Cincinnati, says to make an appointment with your pediatrician.

Your baby may have undiagnosed congenital heart disease. “There are some minor congenital heart defects that could be missed prenatally,” he explains. About nine in 1,000 babies have a congenital heart defect of different severities.

What is Congenital Heart Disease?

Congenital heart disease is a problem with the heart’s structure and function that is present at birth, and is the most common type of birth defect. This disease is usually divided into two types:

  • Cyanotic (blue skin color caused by lack of oxygen)
  • Non-cyanotic (lacks the bluish discoloring that cyanotic heart disease presents as a symptom)

Symptoms of Congenital Heart Disease

Symptoms depend on the condition, and may not appear immediately after birth. Some defects take many years to develop symptoms.

If your child is a little bit older, and they seem to have exercise intolerance or make a grunting noise when they are breathing, these could be signs of either heart or lung disease. “Those types of defects are sometimes things that can be outgrown, or do not require therapeutic intervention – whether it be medicine or surgery – but would require consultation with pediatric cardiologists,” Dr. Polzin points out.

Tags Heart

Last Updated: October 21, 2013