Are fatigue, shortness of breath, blue skin or lips symptoms of heart ailments in children?

With increasing incidences of heart ailments, paying attention to one’s heart health has become the need of the hour. While many believe that only adults are prone to severe risks, several newborns, too, are born with heart defects that can manifest themselves in the form of common symptoms. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 17.7 million deaths in India are due to heart-related issues. A significant number involves the younger population, making it crucial to be aware of congenital heart diseases (CHDs) in children.

CHDs are heart disorders that a baby is born with, Dr Amar Singhal, senior consultant, and interventional cardiologist, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute said. “These are the most prevalent birth abnormalities.

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According to a 2018 report, published in the National Library of Medicine, considering a birth prevalence of congenital heart disease as 9/1000, the estimated number of children born with congenital heart disease in India is more than 200,000 per year. “Currently advanced cardiac care is available to only a minority of such children,” it noted further.


Dr Singhal said that various factors might raise a child’s chances of developing congenital heart disease.

*Genetic conditions
*Maternal diabetes
*Flu (influenza)


Early detection is the key to treating congenital heart disease. “Of the 240,000 children born with CHD each year in India, about one-fifth would need early intervention to survive the first year of life. A large pool of older infants and children who may have survived despite no intervention add to the burden of CHD,” the report added.

Congenital heart diseases (CHDs) are the most prevalent birth abnormalities.

Dr Amar SinghalSenior Consultant, Interventional Cardiologist, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute

Some of the common symptoms include:

*Rapid breathing
*Rapid heartbeat
*Swelling of the legs, tummy or around the eyes
*A blue tinge to the skin or lips (cyanosis)
*Extreme tiredness and fatigue
*Tiredness and rapid breathing when a baby is feeding

When to see a doctor?

The expert shared that severe congenital heart defects are frequently identified before or shortly after a child’s birth.

“Call your child’s care provider if he or she exhibits any signs or symptoms of less severe heart abnormalities as he or she grows,” he advised.

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