congenital heart defects

Topics: Hypertension, Heart, Myocardial infarction Pages: 2 (624 words) Published: February 13, 2014
Congenital Heart Defects
What?
With Congenital Heart Defects, valves, chambers, arteries and veins are malformed; this circulation pattern can be impaired. Congenital heart defects are malformations that are present at birth. Congenital Heart Defects can cause the following conditions: •Pulmonary Hypertension: High blood pressure in the arteries that supply the lungs is called pulmonary hypertension (PH) or pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The blood pressure measured by a cuff on your arm isn't directly related to the pressure in your lungs. The blood vessels that supply the lungs constrict and their walls thicken, so they can't carry as much blood. As in a kinked garden hose, pressure builds up and backs up. The heart works harder, trying to force the blood through. If the pressure is high enough, eventually the heart can't keep up, and less blood can circulate through the lungs to pick up oxygen. Patients then become tired, dizzy and short of breath •Arrhythmias: A condition in which the heart beats with an irregular or abnormal rhythm. •Congestive Heart Failure: A weakness of the heart that leads to a buildup of fluid in the lungs and surrounding body tissues. Causes: In most cases, scientists do not know what makes a baby's heart develop abnormally. Genetic and environmental factors appear to play roles. Scientists have identified about 10 gene mutations that can cause isolated heart defects. Environmental factors can contribute to congenital heart defects. Women who contract rubella during the first three months of pregnancy have a high risk of having a baby with a heart defect. Other viral infections, such as the flu, also may contribute, as may exposure to certain industrial chemicals. Some studies suggest that drinking alcohol or using cocaine in pregnancy may increase the risk of heart defects. Certain chronic illnesses in the mother, such as diabetes, may contribute to heart defects. Effects: The heart can’t pump adequate blood to the...
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