4 Clues a Cardiologist Uses to Diagnose Heart Failure

When a heart isn’t functioning correctly, there are several symptoms that the best pediatric cardiologist will spot right away. These symptoms can vary depending on the age of the child, but occur based on the nature of the child’s congenital heart defect.

Even the best pediatric cardiologist can’t diagnose a child by sight, so if a child is experiencing heart failure tests such as X-rays, computer-aided imaging and even catheterization may be used. Your child’s doctor will also rely on your own observations of your child. Here are four common symptoms that occur when a child is experiencing heart failure.

1. Trouble Breathing

When infants and very small children breathe faster than normal, it can be a sign that they’re body isn’t getting enough oxygen. This can also cause the skin of babies with heart failure to appear bluish in color. Toddlers and older children may experience shortness of breath and even fatigue from mildly strenuous play and activities.

For most children experiencing heart failure, the heart must work harder than normal to distribute oxygen through the body.

2. Poor Feeding or Growth

The extra energy a child’s body requires to move oxygen through their body can make feeding and growing difficult, particularly in infants. Breathing problems or fatigue can make feeding difficult for babies, and the extra calories consumed by an abnormally-beating heart can sap the growth and development of other parts of their body.

3. Excessive Sweating

Excessive sweating is a less common symptom of heart failure in babies and small children, but along with abnormal changes in skin temperature, it can be a sign of progressive heart failure.

4. Irregular Heartbeats

It is difficult to understand if a very small child experience abnormal beating of their heart since they may lack the ability to vocalize it as a concern. As children get older, however, they may complain of strange feelings or irregular heartbeats.