Serious congenital heart defects in infants are often diagnosed during pregnancy or soon after birth. Doctors may find a minor defect later in a child’s life, sometimes during a routine physical exam. If a pediatrician suspects a problem with a child’s heart, he or she may order diagnostic tests or refer the child to a pediatric cardiologist.
Congenital defects are abnormalities in the heart’s structure at or before birth. There are different types of defects, any of which may change the flow of blood through the heart.
Some defects are simple, have no symptoms and don’t need treatment. Others may require surgery to correct the problem. Heart defects are relatively common. Eight out of every 1,000 babies in the U.S. are born with heart problems according to the National Institutes of Health.
A pediatrician uses a stethoscope to listen to a child’s heart and lungs. The physician will look for symptoms of heart problems. Signs of a heart defect include shortness of breath, delayed growth and cyanosis. Cyanosis is when the skin, lips and fingernails look blue.
The pediatrician may want a child to have further tests. Some tests used to look for defects are:
Pediatric Cardiatric Center of Oregon provides in-office testing for heart defects in infants and children. Our doctors evaluate problems that range from the simple to the complex. Contact us today to make an appointment or learn more about our services.