Sunrise Children's Hospital
For more than three decades, Sunrise Children’s Hospital has been Nevada’s largest, most comprehensive children’s hospital.
702.731.5437

Recognize the Signs of Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects are abnormalities in the heart structure that exist at the time of birth. Approximately eight out of 1,000 babies are born with congenital heart defects, which translates into approximately 35,000 babies per year in the U.S. In some newborns, these conditions are very minor and don’t cause any symptoms. In others, congenital heart defects are serious and could require NICU care. Although not all congenital heart defects will cause symptoms, newborns with heart conditions may display these signs.

Cyanosis
Cyanosis refers to a bluish hue that appears on the skin, lips, and fingernails in response to oxygen deprivation. A congenital heart defect may impact the heart’s ability to circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, which causes the cyanosis to occur. Any time your baby displays this symptom, seek emergency care, even if he or she hasn’t been diagnosed with a heart defect, as he or she could be suffering from a dangerous lack of oxygen.

Fatigue
Fatigue is easier to spot in older children, who suddenly become too tired to keep up with their friends or do their usual activities, than it is in newborns, but there are ways to detect excessive tiredness in babies. Pay attention to how your child behaves during feedings. Getting tired during feedings is an indicator of fatigue in a newborn. Some newborns may not gain weight because they are too fatigued to feed properly.

Rapid Breathing
Rapid breathing, which can be caused by congenital heart defects, is always a cause for concern in children. Your doctor may notice that your newborn is breathing rapidly in the hospital and recommend testing for heart defects. If your child begins breathing rapidly at home, seek emergency care.

Sunrise Children’s Hospital is equipped to provide cutting-edge care to young patients, from the smallest newborns in our NICU in Las Vegas to our older children who come to use for emergency care. You can learn more about our hospital by calling (702) 233-5437.