Cyanotic heart disease

Alternative Names

Right-to-left cardiac shunt; Right-to-left circulatory shunt

Definition of Cyanotic heart disease

Cyanotic heart disease is a heart defect, present at birth (congenital), that results in low blood oxygen levels. There may be more than one defect.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Normally, blood returns from the body and flows through the heart and lungs. It will then leave the heart with enough oxygen to supply the body’s tissues.

Symptoms

One symptom is cyanosis, which usually seen as a bluish discoloration of the lips, fingers, and toes.

Signs and tests

Physical examination confirms cyanosis. The child may have clubbed fingers.

Treatment

Some infants may need to stay in the hospital after birth so they can receive oxygen or be put on a breathing machine. They may receive medicines to:

Expectations (prognosis)

See the specific disorder. Some of these conditions may cause sudden death.

Review

Larry A. Weinrauch, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Cardiovascular Disease and Clinical Outcomes Research, Watertown, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/12/2009

Heart, section through the middle
Heart, front view
Cyanotic heart disease

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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