Congenital heart disease in adults can be categorized into two types, adults who are diagnosed with congenital heart disease during infancy and got treated with proper follow up and adults who are not recognized with congenital heart disease, these adults did not have any symptoms of congenital heart disease during their infancy.

In this article you will read about the risk factors for congenital heart disease in adults, complications and tests to diagnose congenital heart disease in adults.

Risk Factors for Congenital Heart Disease in Adults

Risk Factors for Congenital Heart Disease in Adults

There are number of risk factors pertaining to the environment and genes. Some of them which are mentioned below for congenital heart disease in adults:

  • German measles is a risk factor for congenital heart disease in adults. If the pregnant mother was suffering from the problem of Rubella during the time of pregnancy.
  • Diabetes is a risk factor for congenital heart disease in adults. Mothers affected with type 1 diabetes take regular medications which in turn would affect the growth of the fetus.
  • Medicines are also responsible for the problem of congenital heart disease in adults. Some medications that are used for treating the symptoms of acne could be the culprit. There are instances when medications to rectify the bipolar disorder also lead to the occurrence of the congenial heart defects. Pregnant women should refrain from drinking alcohol.
  • Genes. Congenital heart disease in adults is known to occur due to genetic reasons. According to the experts, 21st chromosome is responsible for the Down's syndrome and may also cause defects in the heart in the long run. Missing 22nd chromosome is known to cause heart attacks. Prior genetic testing would go a long way in finding the defects in the heart in the new born.

Complications in Congenital Heart Disease in Adults

Congenital heart disease in adults has complications and would vary from one person to another. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Abnormal Heart Rhythms or Arrhythmias is a Complication in Congenital Heart Disease in Adults

    Congenital heart disease in adults can become complicated and lead to the problem of arrhythmia. It is associated with the electrical impulses that regulate the heart beat in an impeccable manner. When they malfunction, the heart beats irregularly. Heart defects might cause the symptoms of irregular heartbeat. The problem should be immediately treated or else it could lead to cardiac arrest in the patient. Follow up is extremely necessary for the people.

  2. Heart Infections or Endocarditis is a Complication in Congenital Heart Disease in Adults

    Heart infections are a complication in congenital heart disease in adults. Heart comprises of chambers and valves that incorporate a thin layer or membrane namely the endocardium. When it becomes infected, the disease is referred to as endocarditis.

    The disease occurs when the bacteria from the different parts of the body sneaks into the blood stream and reaches the heart. As a result, it can spread to the valves causing damages and subsequent stroke to the patient. People with prosthetic heart valve are administered antibiotic on a regular basis to control the infection. It will also decrease the risk of contracting the disease in the near future.

  3. Stroke is a Complication in Congenital Heart Disease in Adults

    Brain stroke is a possible complication in congenital heart disease in adults. Stroke can occur when supply to the brain from the heart is reduced blocking the flow of oxygen. If the patient is suffering from congenital heart disease, the clot can travel from the heart to the brain. Irregular heart beat also play spoil sport while creating a clot and causing eventual death.

  4. Heart Failure Complication in Congenital Heart Disease in Adults

    Congestive heart failure is a complication in congenital heart disease in adults. Congestive heart failure is the problem that occurs when the system is not able to supply blood to the different organs of the body.

    Coronary heart disease accompanied by the high B.P or blood pressure would wear out the heart and make it extremely vulnerable to issues such as cardiac arrest.

    Medications play an important role in improving the health of the heart by many notches. You should not consume oily food and also do regular exercises to ward off the threats of heart attack. It is extremely important to handle the stress in an impeccable manner and reduce the weight over a course of time. It would help to eliminate the deposition of excess fluid.

  5. Pulmonary Hypertension is a Complication in Congenital Heart Disease in Adults

    Pulmonary hypertension is a likely complication in congenital heart disease in adults. Pulmonary hypertension constricts the arteries that carry the blood supply to human lungs. Due to gradual increase in pressure, one of the lower chambers of the heart has to work overtime to pump the blood. Therefore, the heart muscles wear off leading to the functional failure. If the problem is not treated in the initial mode, damaged artery may occur with the lungs.

  6. Heart Valve Complication in Congenital Heart Disease in Adults

    Congenital heart disease in adults might also become the problem for heart valves and lead to abnormal heart valves. Some valves that were replaced during infancy might need further surgery to rectify the problem in an impeccable manner. Surgical treatment has to be carried out after a certain course of time to ensure that the patient is provided relief from the problems.

Tests to Diagnose Congenital Heart Disease in Adults

There are numerous tests available to diagnose congenital heart disease in adults. If the doctor is able to listen to the abnormal heart beat, he or she would examine whether there are any birth defect issues that recurred during past. Further diagnosis would help to find the real reasons behind the problem. Some of the tests are as follows:

  • Electrocardiogram or ECG is a test to diagnose congenital heart disease in adults as it detects the electrical pattern/activity of the heart and if there are any abnormal signals. It would be manifested in the ECG pattern. It would help to provide evidences about the congenital heart disease in adults.
  • Chest X-ray is a test conducted for congenital heart disease in adults. X-ray plays an important role in analyzing the chest along with lungs.
  • Echocardiogram can be used for testing congenital heart disease in adults. In echocardiogram sound waves are used to monitor the activities of the heart to a great extent.
  • Exercise stress exam is can also help in diagnosing congenital heart disease in adults. Adults with congenital heart disease are advised to undergo exercises test to monitor the condition of the heart. It would help to measure the blood pressure along with the rate of the heart beat during exercises. You can also use the tread mill to calculate the amount of oxygen absorbed by the body. If you have problems in doing exercises, the doctors would provide suitable medications in an easy and hassle free manner. They will help to increase the blood supply and also the heart rate. In order to conduct the stress test, you may like to use the echocardiogram.
  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an option for diagnosing congenital heart disease in adults. The patient is shifted inside the machine with is in a shape of the doughnut. The X-ray tube rotates and captures different snap shots of the heart to analyze the extent of the infection in the valves. MRI is another technique that deploys radio waves to examine the chest along with the heart in great detail. In addition, the magnetic field is also created over the targeted areas to capture high resolution pictures. Patient has to lie on the table as he or she is pushed into the machine which has a tube shaped structure. Magnetic field directs all the atomic particles into various cells. Radio waves hit against the particles and create spectacular images of the hearts and the valves. The test would unravel the real problem affecting the pulmonary system of the body. Signals are used to enhance the images by many notches.
  • Cardiac catheterization is another technique for diagnosing congenital heart disease in adults. Doctors can use the catheter inside the artery so that it reaches the heart to check the images and also if there are any clot present inside. The whole process is accomplished with the help of the X ray device which can provide impeccable images on a fly. Dye is pushed inside the catheter to assist the X rays in taking the images not only of the heart but also the blood vessels. It is also possible to measure the pressure of the heart using the above mentioned techniques.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 4, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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