A congenital heart defect is present since birth. The defect may include improperly functioning heart valves or heart chambers. Under these circumstances, the healthy portion of the heart works harder to pump blood to the body. The extra strain placed on the heart muscle may result in heart failure.
Edwin Yih-Jen. Kok, MD
- internal medicine
Location and Office HoursSouthern California Heart Center
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How can a congenital heart defect lead to heart failure?
Piedmont Heart Institute answered
What are venovenous collaterals?
Cyanotic single ventricle congenital heart disease is a heart defect that is present at birth in which only one lower chamber of the heart pumps blood. The term cyanotic describes the bluish color of the child’s skin that results from a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream.
At some stages of palliative (symptom-reducing) surgery for cyanotic single ventricle congenital heart disease, small veins may open up and become larger. The small veins that enlarge are called venovenous collaterals. They allow blue blood to bypass the lungs and go directly back to the heart. This may result in an excessive blueness (cyanosis) of the child’s skin.
Coils and devices delivered within the blood vessel via a thin tube called a catheter can be used to stop (occlude) blood flow from bypassing the lungs. When the blood is able to enter the lungs, it can pick up oxygen that is necessary to support healthy functioning, and the child’s skin will return to a normal color.
What is a coronary fistula?
Coronary fistulas are abnormal branches from the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply the heart with blood) that bypass the circulation through the heart muscle and instead passes directly back to one of the heart chambers or pulmonary artery. These fistulas are sometimes found incidentally if a baby or child receives an echocardiogram for another reason. Sometimes, there is enough blood flow through a fistula to create a heart murmur. Some coronary fistulas do not require treatment and may become smaller over time. Others may require catheter-based or surgical treatment.
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