Some of the Major Cardiac Defects in Children

Heart surgery in children is usually required for repairing defects in the heart. Sometimes children are born with these defects and sometimes they are developed after birth. In both cases, surgery will be required. Pediatric Cardiac Surgery deals with operative procedures in new born and unborn children suffering from cardiac dysfunctions, structural, functional and rhythm related issues. It often deals with heart problems such as structural defects, congenital arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies which result in different kinds of abnormalities related to the heart

Here are some of the major types of cardiac defects in children:

Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)– Atrial Septal Defect is most commonly referred to as a hole in the heart. It is a type of a congenital heart defect in which there is an abnormal opening in the dividing wall between the upper filling chambers of the heart – called as atria. ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully with few or no complications. When such a defect is present, blood flows through the hole primarily from the left atrium to the right atrium. This kind of shunting increases the blood volume in the right atrium which means more blood flows through the lungs than normal. Well, if this condition is left untreated, it may cause greater problems in adulthood. Some of the problems may include pulmonary hypertension, congestive heart failure, atrial arrhythmias and an increased risk of stroke.

Ventricular Septal Defect – This condition includes a hole in the wall of the heart between the right ventricle and the left ventricle. Normally, blood should not pass between the two sides of the heart. Some of the oxygen rich blood leaks from the left ventricle into the right ventricle and then goes back into the lungs. Sometimes this hole is small and does not cause any serious problems with the blood flow. However, if the hole is large, it results in too much blood being pumped into the lungs, leading to congestive heart failure. Further, the heart will have to work harder to pump the blood into the body. As a result, the heart may enlarge in some cases.

Fallot’s Tetralogy – Tetralogy means fourfold. This essentially means that there are four defects found altogether:

Pulmonary stenosis – means narrowing at or below the pulmonary valve.

Ventricular septal defect is a defect in the wall between the right and left sides of the heart.

Over-riding aorta – where the aorta allows the right ventricle to pump some blue blood directly into it.

Right ventricular hypertrophy – where right ventricle becomes thickened as it forces some blood into the narrowed pulmonary artery.

There are various procedures used in fixing congenital defects of the heart in children.

Open heart surgery is usually done under general anaesthesia. An incision is made through the breast bone and tubes are used to re-route the blood with a heart-lung bypass machine. Thoracotomy is used when the incision is made on the side of the chest, between the ribs. This is also called as closed heart surgery.

It is important to understand the types of heart ailments and the treatments available.

5 Habits That Affect Your Heart

The heart is the main organ in the cardiovascular system, whose function is to pump blood throughout the body, transferring nutrients, oxygen, hormones, and other substances to the appropriate tissues and organs.

When the heart and blood vessels do not work as they should, it gives rise to disorders known as cardiovascular diseases that can be dangerous to your life.

A person who has heart problems is prone to various risk factors – from arterial wear to a heart attack. However, scientists say that the way of life also affects the work of the heart. Therefore, you should know about these 5 habits that can cause heart problems.

Sedentary Lifestyle
If you sit at the computer or in front of the TV for hours, the risk of a stroke increases, even if you regularly exercise. The exercises you do a couple times a week do not compensate for the time you spend in a motionless state.

A sedentary lifestyle has a bad effect on the level of fats and sugar in the blood. Therefore, even if you have to sit for a long time, try to get up and walk from time to time.

Ignoring Snoring
Snoring is often the subject of jokes but in fact, it can be a serious signal. For example, obstructive sleep apnea (a short-term respiratory arrest while sleeping, which can cause an increase in blood pressure) significantly increases the risk of a heart disease.

It is estimated that more than 18 million adults suffer from sleep apnea. This is especially true for people who are overweight or obese. If you snore and often wake up in a broken state, it’s best to consult a doctor. There are easy ways to detect apnea, as well as successful treatment methods.

Smoking or Cohabitation with a Smoker
Here is another advice to you – do not smoke. Smoking is a total disaster for your heart. It promotes the formation of blood clots that can block the flow of blood to the heart and leads to the accumulation of plaques in the arteries.

If you smoke, not only do you put yourself at risk but you also endanger those who live near. Each year, about 46,000 non-smoking people who live with smokers die from heart diseases due to passive smoking.

The main cause of heart diseases is being overweight. To avoid overeating problems, try to do the following:
• Don’t eat large portions of food
• Replace sweet drinks with water
• Reduce the consumption of high-calorie dishes
• Keep in mind that products with the “low in fat” inscription often contain a lot of calories

Suppression of Stress, Aggression or Irritation
If you are experiencing negative emotions for a long time but you cannot express them, it puts a heavy burden on your heart.

Those who suppress stress for a long time, endanger themselves. Studies prove that the ability to laugh heartily and maintain friendly relations, as well as enjoy social and family support, have a positive impact on your heart health. Sharing your problems with people who support you is very beneficial for a healthy living.

How Mice and Zebrafish Are Unlocking Clues to Repairing Damaged Hearts

Unexpected that unassuming mice and zebrafish can help repair damaged hearts, a new study has revealed.

The zebrafish has the ability to stitch its severed spine again and the mouse has a substance surrounding its hearts that can patch up the injured or broken heart.

The researchers injected the extracellular matrix of the zebrafish into the damaged cardiac tissue of a mouse. The Zebrafish cellular matrix enhanced the cell replication, tissue regeneration and also improved the functioning of the heart in the mouse. The research reveals that proteins play a very important role in this transformation.

The power to heal quickly is seen only in super humans and is referred to as a super ability. Humans cannot re-grow their limbs like starfish. But children who lose their fingertips provided the nail is still safe have found that their tips can re-grow again. With age this ability gets turned off. The study along with research is to help study the MNDCM so this ability can be turned on again.

Every year a few lakh suffer from heart attacks and blocked arteries. A blocked artery deprives the heart of blood and oxygen its basic fuel. The longer the blockage lasts the more cells die and the heart is damaged permanently.

When children are born they have a large number of heart muscle cells called mononuclear diploid cardiomyocyte or MNDCM. These cells have regenerative properties and can rebuild the heart muscle. But as we grow older the cells reduce leading to a heart attack. MNDCM are few and hence are not able to repair the damage caused by the heart attack.

After an attack the healing is a long process and once the cells are damaged the muscle cells cardiomyocytes are replaced by scared tissue, which cannot contract and pump. This further increases the stress on the remaining heart muscle and then leads to heart failure.

The researchers have found that a few mice have less than two percent of the MNDCMs while others have it in a larger percentage. Thus, those mice with a higher number of MNDCMs are able to regenerate the heart muscle after an injury or a heart attack. A wide genetic study has revealed the gene Tnni3k that plays a major role in generating the MNDCMs.

Turning off the Tnni3k gene resulted the increased number of MNDCMs thus increasing the ability to regenerate the heart. But when the same gene Tnni3k was activated in the zebrafish it reduced the number of MNDCMs and destroyed its ability to repair damaged heart.

But it’s still a long way from being used on humans. This study is just the first step towards evolving a medicine. The Tnni3k can be modulated and hence can be used to create prescription medicine. The Tnni3k overtime can help contain more regenerative cells in adult hearts and prevent heart failure.

The ultimate goal of this research is regeneration of the cells to heal the body. Quick healing is useful in a young child, the body needs to regenerate.

Tnni3k in zebrafish promoted cardiomyocyte compromised heart regeneration. The results corroborate the importance of MNDCMs in heart regeneration. It implies that heart regeneration is not same in every individual, but it is influenced by many genes.

It is likely that several things influence the functional and morphological outcome after a heart injury, which includes cardiomyocyte proliferation, cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, collagen deposition by fibroblasts (scarring), regrowth of coronary vasculature etc.

Tips To Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease And Stroke

Heart disease can be a serious affair if you don’t take immediate action. Nowadays, the condition is very common among men and women both. And the main cause of it is the poor lifestyle that pushes us toward the dangerous disease. Preventing the condition before it’s too late is compulsory and if you are looking for a few ways that help you deal with it, so, here are some tips. Take a look to know about them.

Take Your Health Seriously: A heart attack is undoubtedly one of the common reasons that lead to death at any age. In an order to prevent it, you first have to take the responsibility for your health. Incorporate any exercise or workout in your routine that helps your heart stay healthy for a longer period.

Quit Smoking: Smoking is injurious to health, even the pack says so. It’s time to take the warning seriously, as it may otherwise only increase problems for you. To keep your heart healthy and away from all the disease, quit it right away. Also, try your level best to keep yourself away from the second-hand smoke.

Count Your Calories: Calories not only increase your weight, but also leads to a number of heart diseases and stroke is one of them. To prevent it or to stay healthy, you should limit the intake of calories. Binge on fruits and vegetables that help you control it and prevent major health disease.

Lower Your Blood Pressure: Though it doesn’t cause any symptom, but can be very dangerous for your heart health. Therefore, it is important for you to take as much as necessary preventive measures to lower down your high blood pressure.

Control Your Cholesterol Level: Cholesterol is also an enemy of the heart that can increase your chances of getting the stroke. Hence, it would be great if you modify your diet and eliminate all the food items from it that increase high cholesterol in your body.

Shed Down Excess Weight: Obesity can also kill you and increase your chances of getting a heart disease or stroke than a normal person. So, if you are overweight, as per your body mass index (BMI), go and take some steps to drop inches.

These are a few tips that you always need to keep in your mind to prevent heart disease or stroke. In case you are suffering from the condition, find out the best heart hospital near you and take the treatment shortly.