Thursday, July 16, 2009

Listen to your child’s heart for abnormality

Heart trouble and your child
One in hundred children born with heart defect
Children with congenital heart defects can lead healthy life with surgery, Dr P Mankad

Ludhiana, June 25.
When Baby Noor Fatima from Pakistan was operated in 2003 in India, the word of heart defects amongst newly born children spread around quickly. Fatima was amongst many cases that were fortunate enough to undergo surgery and get timely intervention for the ailment.

One, in every hundred children, is born with heart defects. In India there are more than 1 lakh kids being born with congenital defects every year. It remains commonest cause of death in first year of life, says Dr Pankaj Mankad, senior Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon from Edinburgh, Scotland, who will now be at Grecian Hospital, Mohali to serve children with heart defects once in two months.

Dr Mankad adds that in 99 percent of cases there is no cause known for this condition. While many children exhibit signs and symptoms of heart trouble right after the time of birth, others take couple of years to be detected as what we call “heart patients”.

Parents can act in a big way by identifying the symptoms of ailment in their child and help in early intervention. Parents should be aware of signs and symptoms such as baby not feeding well, getting tired or sweating while feeding because of the extra work needed to eat, having repeated chest infections, unexplained fever, not putting on enough weight or not growing properly.

Those children with mixing of blood appear dark or blue depending on skin pigmentation. This gives blue or purple hue to the skin. In some children, a buzzing sound is felt when hand is placed on the chest.
In 90% of kids a pediatrician is able to hear a murmur (abnormal heart sound) while examining the child with a stethoscope. An echocardiogram or ECG is done to help diagnose the defect
Older children with congestive heart failure are beyond time of rapid growth and therefore do not have major growth problems like infants. Their symptoms are usually related to their inability to tolerate exercise. They become short of breath more quickly compared to their peers and need to rest more often.

Shortness of breath can occur even with minimal exertion, such as climbing stairs or taking a walk if the heart failure is severe. In children with heart failure, passing out during exercise may be very serious and needs to be evaluated immediately. Appetite may be poor when heart failure is severe and weight loss or lack of weight gain can be seen even in older children.

Some children will retain fluid and will actually gain weight with heart failure and appear puffy. As it is harder to determine parameters for heart failure in older children, it is important to look for change in exercise capabilities or progression of symptoms with time.

Dr Shivpreet Singh Samra, Managing Director, Grecian Hospital, Mohali says, “Grecian Hospital is the only hospital beyond Delhi, capable of successfully conducting the child heart surgeries. With Dr Pankaj Mankad joining us, the children suffering from heart disease in this region have got a savior.”

Dr Pankaj Mankad is a senior heart surgeon who has been working in UK since 1983. He has been Consultant at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary since 1990. He specializes in operating on complex heart diseases of children. He shall be operating at Grecian Hospital, Mohali every two months. He will be here till July 10 2009 and shall return in September.

Although a lot of facilities exist for heart surgery in adults, there is no dedicated facility for children’s hearts in North India. Patients have to go to Delhi. This is very expensive and inconvenient. The cost for such surgeries is about Re 2.5 lakhs in private hospitals. Institutes like AIIMS have very long waiting lists.

The children from poor and middle-income groups end up succumbing to the ailment. Over the past 3 years Grecian Hospital has carried out 74 surgeries on children with heart defects.

All those who wish to get their children treated by him should approach Grecian Hospital at 0 98146 10390/ 0 98550 70390. Depending on complexity of the case and financial situation of patient discounts can be offered as well.

For any clarifications, Pl feel free to contact
Vineet Joshi, Trivani Media at 9417178978, 9316120768

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