Holes in the heart: Signs and symptoms - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Holes in the heart: Signs and symptoms

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -

Parents of babies born with holes in their hearts have no idea their children are sick. 

A hole in the septum between the heart's two upper chambers, or atrium, is called an atrial septal defect (ASD). A hole in the two lower chambers, the ventricle, is known as a ventricular septal defect (VSD)

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, many babies and children with ASD or VSD exhibit no signs or symptoms of having a serious problem.

Usually the most common sign a child has ASD or VSD is a heart murmur, a whooshing sound that can be heard through a stethoscope.

A small VSD may cause no problems, and some may even close on their own, according to the Mayo Clinic. Larger ones, however, need surgical repair early in life to prevent further complications.

Symptoms of ASD don't usually begin until later in life, around the age of 30. The Mayo Clinic reports symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of legs, feet or abdomen
  • Heart palpitations or skipped beats
  • Frequent lung infections
  • Stroke
  • Heart murmur

Parents should contact a doctor if their child has any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiring easily, especially after activity
  • Swelling of legs, feet or abdomen
  • Heart palpitations or skipped beats

These could be signs of heart failure or other congenital heart disease.

Visit the Mayo Clinic or the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute websites for more information on ASDs or VSDs.

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