There are two groups of Heart disorders :
The structural defects mainly causes congenital heart defects. This can result in cyanosis (blue baby) if the defect is such that blood does not pass through the lungs for oxygenation. The most common type is Tetralogy of Fallot. The child has blue lips and blue-finger and toe-nails. The ends of the fingers and toes are rounded and club-like. Sometimes there is an opening between the left and right side of the heart, or even between the aorta and pulmonary artery.
Symptoms will depend on the type of heart disease, Sometimes, the defect is picked up on a routine examination and sometimes there may be breathlessness, difficulty in walking or run- fling, swelling of feet and puffiness of face, and later of the whole body. More and more of these anomalies can now be surgically corrected.
Acquired heart disease is mainly due to rheumatic fever and is uncommon under 5 years of age.
You may have heard someone say that there is a murmur in the heart. A murmur is an extra sound in the heart apart from the normal heart sounds, and is detected by a doctor while examining the heart with a stethoscope. Some murmurs are innocent and disappear gradually as the child grows; others may indicate a heart disease due to rheumatic fever or a congenital malformation of the heart, and the doctor will explain to you whether it is serious or not. Sometimes a murmur may develop during fever, or the heart may get affected during an attack of diphtheria, mumps or some other viral infection.
The seriousness of the murmur depends on the symptoms and disability it is producing in the child. A murmur discovered accidentally while examining a healthy child is usually of no signiftcance and should not cause anxiety.