Although congenital heart defects are among the most common birth defects, it may be difficult to tell if your child is suffering from one. Many heart problems are caught during a pregnancy or soon after birth, but others may not become apparent until a baby is a little older.
If you’re concerned that your child has a heart problem, here are four of the most common symptoms that are noticed in pediatric cardiology centers.
1. Heart Murmurs
A heart murmur is the sound of the blood flowing through a heart that can be heard with a stethoscope. Doctors that work in pediatric cardiology are trained to listen for abnormalities in the pitch and intensity of the blood flowing through your child’s heart that can indicate a constriction of blood flow.
2. Heart Arrhythmia
An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. Heart arrhythmias are often harmless and can be caused by factors like sickness or dehydration. However, if your doctor detects one in your child he or she may recommend an examination by a pediatric heart specialist.
3. Feeding and Growth Problems
If a baby’s heart isn’t working correctly, it may cause a baby to need far more calories than normal. Even if your baby is feeding normally, this can result problems with weight gain and physical development. Heavy sweating caused by a racing heart can also cause dehydration.
4. Problems With Breathing
Heart defects can cause difficulties both in a baby’s breathing and in their body’s ability to process oxygen. Severe problems breathing may be caused by sickness or infection, but may also be a symptom of a congenital heart defect.