children heart diseases

Paediatric Heart Issues and Treatments

December 5th, 2018 | 12:23 pm

Around one in every 100 children has a heart problem, which may be a heart defect or a congenital (present from birth) heart disease. As sad as it sounds that children are afflicted with such conditions, the good news is that with the advancement in medicine and technology, children with heart problems can go on to live long and happy lives.

To learn more about the different types of heart diseases in children, read on.

Hole in the heart (ASD/ VSD)

This is a very common heart defect in the children. A hole in the heart can be present in between the two upper collecting chambers (atrial septal defect) or in between the lower pumping chambers (ventricular septal defect). Due to the presence of a hole in the heart, the oxygenated blood and de-oxygenated blood gets mixed, leading to issues. Due to the hole, murmurs can be heard in the hearts of normal and healthy children. The cause of this can be due to defective heart valves, holes in the inner walls of the heart, structural heart defects, fever or anaemia. Murmurs are evaluated on the basis of the pitch, loudness, location and duration as well as intensity. Murmurs are not always a sign of heart disease. When it is harmless, the murmur is called “innocent murmur.”

Congenital heart disease (CHD)

This type of heart disease is used to describe a number of conditions that affect the heart. These abnormalities usually develop during pregnancy while a baby’s heart is still developing. There are many different types of congenital heart disease. Some of these include problems that cause too much blood to pass through the lungs, too little blood to pass through the lungs and too little blood to travel to the body.


Cardiomyopathy is a set of rare heart diseases that make it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. In most cases, this disease causes the heart muscle to become enlarged, thick or stiff, affecting the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body. As cardiomyopathy gets worse, the heart becomes weaker, making it harder for it to pump blood around the body and maintain normal electrical rhythm. These diseases can be inherited and acquired as the result of another disease or condition.

Kawasaki disease

Also known as Kawasaki syndrome or mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome, common symptoms include fever, rash, swelling of the hands and feet, swollen lymph glands in the neck and irritation/redness of the whites of the eyes. The effects of this disease are rarely serious and initial symptoms last for only 10-14 days. The cause of Kawasaki disease is unknown but the two main medicines used to treat it are intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and aspirin.


Myocarditis is a rare condition caused by a viral infection or when one’s immune system attacks itself. It causes inflammation of the heart and affects its electrical system, reducing its ability to pump, causing rapid or abnormal heart rhythms. The most common symptoms include chest pain, irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath. Most cases have no symptoms and can only be identified by an electrocardiogram or by blood tests that detect heart injuries.

How the paediatric heart diseases detected?

Many serious heart diseases are detected during pregnancy, during routine ultrasound exams. Others may be detected shortly after birth, while the less severe problems are detected at an older age when children start exhibiting symptoms. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include pale blue or grey skin colour, rapid breathing, swelling in the legs, abdomen or around the eyes and shortness of breath during feeding.

Tests to detect paediatric heart diseases:

When your child exhibits symptoms of heart disease, the paediatric cardiologist suggests undergoing a few tests to confirm the issue. A few tests available are:

  1. Foetal echocardiogram: This is generally performed on pregnant ladies to pre-determine if any cardiac defect has developed in the foetus.
  2. Echocardiogram: This is a regular echocardiogram which is used on your child to see if they have any congenital heart disease.
  3. Electrocardiogram: This instrument picks up the electrical activity of the heart and helps in the detection of heart defects or rhythm issues.
  4. Chest x-ray: Chest x-ray can help find out if the heart has undergone physical changes.
  5. Pulse oximetry: This is a non-invasive test which determines the amount of oxygen in the blood. Lesser oxygen indicates a heart defect.
  6. Cardiac catheterisation: A catheter is inserted in the body with a camera which allows the doctor to view the heart clearly and determine the details of the defect.

Treatment of paediatric heart disease

Paediatric medicine is not just scaled-down adult medicine. Since children are still growing, there are obvious size and growth issues that are not present in adults. If you think your child is exhibiting symptoms of heart disease, consult with a paediatrician. Tests for heart problems are quick, simple and painless. Even after detection, many children can live full and normal lives. Omni Hospitals is equipped with the following ways of treating heart issues in children:

  1. Medications: If the heart disease is existent in a mild form, then medications are prescribed.
  2. Cardiac catheterisation. In cardiac catheterisation, a long thin tube called a catheter is inserted into an artery or vein in the groin, neck or arm, threaded through the blood vessels and into the heart. Doctors use the catheter to perform diagnostic tests and as well as to treat heart disease. The child is usually administered with a medicine to help them relax, or general anaesthesia so that he/she is asleep.
  3. Open heart surgery: Sometimes, the congenital heart diseases require open heart surgery. In the case of surgery, the child is given general anaesthesia so that they are asleep during the procedure. The heart is cut to perform the corrections required in the heart. In some cases, instead of a open heart surgery, a minimally invasive surgery is performed which involves small incisions leading to quicker recovery and less pain.
  4. Heart transplant: In the most serious cases, a child may require heart transplant too.

About Dr Shashanka Chunduri:

Dr Shashanka Chunduri is the senior consultant cardiologist at Omni RK, Vizag. He is regarded as one of the best interventional cardiologists of his generation in Vizag. He has a vast experience in providing intensive and emergency cardiac care and dealing with complex coronary interventions.

Dr Shashanka has a total of 10 years of clinical and interventional cardiology experience. He has also worked as an Assistant Professor of Cardiology at Sri Venkateshwara Institute of Medical Science, Tirupati. He has performed more than 1500 cardiac procedures, including coronary angiograms, angioplasty, pacemaker implantation, ASD/PDA device closures, and renal artery stenting and peripheral interventions.

He specialises in coronary angiography and angioplasty. He does most of his coronary procedures from the wrist access (radial artery access).

He is well-versed with paediatric echo-cardiograms and paediatric catheterisation procedures and has a rich experience of dealing with paediatric cases.

About Omni RK:

The department of cardiology specialises at Omni RK has the best doctors with with extensive international experience and expertise to provide the care you deserve. Our hospital is well-equipped with sophisticated and advanced instruments. We have a state-of-the-art cath-lab to perform catheter procedures also. Our motto is to provide comprehensive heart care.