Congestive Heart Failure in Children
Alternate Names : CHF in Children
Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot adequately
pump blood. Because the pumping action of the heart is reduced, blood backs up
into certain body tissues, causing fluid buildup.
What is going on in the body?
Congestive heart failure is caused by a variety of complex problems that
cause the pumping chambers of the heart to fail.
The heart is divided into a left heart and a right heart. The blood receives
oxygen as it passes through the lungs. The left heart receives blood from
the lungs and pumps
this oxygen-rich blood to the organs, muscles, and tissues of the body. The
right heart receives oxygen-poor blood from these organs and tissues. It then
pumps it to the lungs to receive a fresh supply of oxygen.
If the pumping chambers of the heart do not function properly, blood stays in
the lungs or in the tissues of the body. This leads to congestion of these
areas with blood and fluid, the reason for the term congestive heart failure.
The organs and tissues do not receive an adequate supply of blood, and they
begin to suffer the effects.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
The most common cause of congestive heart failure in children is congenital heart disease, including:
cardiac malformations, such as
tetralogy of Fallot
abnormalities of the heart valves
underdevelopment of one or both ventricles
coarctation of the aorta, which
is a narrowing of the vessel bringing blood to the heart
ventricular septal defects, or
holes in the walls that separate the left and right sides of the heart
patent ductus arteriosus, or an
abnormal connection between the aorta and the pulmonary artery that mixes
oxygenated and unoxygenated blood
Other causes of congestive heart failure in children include:
rheumatic heart disease, caused by damage to the heart from group A strep infections
bacterial endocarditis, or
inflammation of the lining of the heart due to an infection
myocarditis, or inflammation of
the heart muscle
complications of open heart
chronic anemia, which results
in a low
red blood cell count