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Congenital heart defects (CHD), which are the most common form of birth defects, are issues related to one or multiple areas of the cardiac and respiratory system. The causes of congenital heart defects vary to some degree, but all involve issues with fetal development. While some CHDs are relatively benign and have a negligible effect on the child’s life, others may have an immediate and significant impact on the health of the child and hinder the newborn’s chance of survival. As such, healthcare providers involved in the prenatal care, birthing process, and the care of the newborn must be vigilant for signs of CHD so that the problem can be addressed before serious issues arise.
An unrecognized CHD can cause a reduction in properly oxygenated blood reaching the tissues and organs of the body, including the brain.
While doctors may recognize a wide variety of congenital heart defect symptoms, the most common telltale signs of these defects include:
While these post-delivery issues are usually the first sign of CHD, defects can also be discovered prenatally with the use of ultrasound or fetal echocardiography.
One routine manner of testing for CHD is the measuring of blood oxygen levels in the baby’s shoulders and feet. If this test, which measures what is known as “preductal and post ductal oxygen saturation” demonstrates that there is a significant difference between the two, it may be a sign that blood is bypassing the lungs (without getting oxygenated) because of a structural abnormality in the heart or adjacent vessels.
Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy has been successful in litigating multiple cases involving congenital heart defects in newborns. In the pursuit of these cases, we have retained and consulted with some of the nation’s top-ranked neonatologists, pediatric cardiologists, and pediatric electrophysiologists.
If you have any questions about whether a failure to promptly diagnose your child’s congenital heart defect has led to permanent damage in your child, call us at (216) 230-6382 or complete a free initial consultation form online.
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