ZocdocAnswersWhen should I suspect my child has congenital heart disease?

Question

When should I suspect my child has congenital heart disease?

My six month old son seems to be having trouble breathing at times and does not always want to food. Could this be something related to his heart?

Answer

While it is certainly possible that your child might have some problem related to his heart, it is difficult to diagnose this without seeing him or her. If you child is having any difficulty breathing, therefore, you should take him to a doctor immediately. Most often in the current healthcare environment, congenital cardiac anomalies that are serious enough to cause difficulty with breathing are diagnosed at birth or even before (given the incredible sensitivity of prenatal ultrasounds). That being said, it is still important to recognize that you, as the parent, will be involved intimately in the care of your child and will be aware of things that might need to be discussed with a doctor. Pediatricians are always appreciative of concerned parents, and would be very glad if you bring in your child with this specific concern. As for signs that you might look for as warnings that your child could have congenital heart disease, you would be more concerned if there was a family history, if your child was not gaining weight appropriately, if your child was turning blue in the lips, fingers, or other body parts, if your child seemed listless or had difficulty with activity (such as nursing). Please discuss your concerns with your pediatrician.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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