National Heart Month
National Heart Month
February is recognized as National Heart Month. The American Heart Association has used February as National Heart Month since 1964. On average in 2014 someone died from cardiovascular disease every 40 seconds, according to heart.org. Check out the American Heart Association’s website for more facts and important dates (http://newsroom.heart.org/events/february-is-american-heart-month-5712350 ).
This week’s blog my goal is to raise awareness about congenital heart defects. Congenital heart defects are complications of the heart that occur at birth. The heart defects are due to structural problems due to abnormal formation of the heart or major blood vessels. According to the American Heart Association, if your child is diagnosed with a heart defect, the chances are better than ever that the problem can be overcome and that a normal adult life will follow. Below are 3 of the most common congenital heart defects.
- Patent Ductus Arteriosis
- What is it: It is an unclosed hole in the aorta
- Before a baby is born, the fetus's blood does not need to go to the lungs to get oxygenated. The ductus arteriosis is a hole that allows the blood to skip the circulation to the lungs. However, when the baby is born, the blood must receive oxygen in the lungs and this hole is supposed to close. If the ductus arteriosis is still open (or patent) the blood may skip this necessary step of circulation. The open hole is called the patent ductus arteriosis.
- More information: https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/AboutCongenitalHeartDefects/Patent-Ductus-Arteriosus-PDA_UCM_307032_Article.jsp
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- What is it: A heart defect with 4 problems
- A hole between the lower chambers
- An obstruction from the heart to the lungs
- The aorta lies over the hole in the lower chambers
- The muscle surrounding the lower right chamber becomes overly thickened
- More information = https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/AboutCongenitalHeartDefects/Tetralogy-of-Fallot_UCM_307038_Article.jsp
- Atrial Septal Defects
- What is it: A hole in the wall that separates the top 2 chambers in the heart
- This defect allows oxygen-rich blood to leak into the oxygen-poor blood chambers in the heart. ASD is a defect in the septum between the heart's two upper chambers (atria). The septum is a wall that separates the heart's left and right sides.
- More information: https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/AboutCongenitalHeartDefects/Atrial-Septal-Defect-ASD_UCM_307021_Article.jsp
For more information on congenital heart defects and other cardiovascular conditions of childhood check out the American Heart Association’s website here https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/CardiovascularConditionsofChildhood/Cardiovascular-Conditions-of-Childhood_UCM_314135_SubHomePage.jsp
-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT
Pediatric Physical Therapist