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congenital heart defect picture

Blood & Heart  Abnormalities

Medical information about Heart Defect

    Congenital Heart Defects > Congenital Heart Defects > Holes in the heart

congenital heart symptoms

Holes in the heart

Several defects can be thought of as holes in the walls between heart chambers or abnormal passageways between major blood vessels leaving the heart. These holes allow oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood to mix. If the holes are large and a lot of blood is mixed, your baby's skin or the area under the fingernails may be a slight bluish color. He or she may also develop signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure, such as shortness of breath, fatigue and leg swelling, because blood is flooding (overcirculating) the lungs. Examples of hole defects include ventricular septal defect (VSD), which is a hole in the wall between the right and left ventricles, and patent ductus arteriosus, an opening between the pulmonary artery and the aorta. During fetal development, these openings allow blood in the fetus to bypass the lungs. Within a few hours after birth, however, their opening should close. If it doesn't, oxygen-rich blood intended for the body is directed back to the lungs.

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Obstructed blood flow


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