Congenital Heart Disease and Physical Therapy

Congenital Heart Disease and Physical TherapyCongenital heart disease refers to structural (anatomical) or physiological defects in normal heart function as a result of birth defects that can be diagnosed immediately after birth or it may take years to produce full blown heart insufficiency.

Congenital Heart Disease and Physical Therapy

Congenital Heart Disease

Valvular heart abnormalities are the most common type of congenital heart abnormality associated with high morbidity and mortality in adult years if no management choice is used.

This is because the demands of the body's metabolism increase with growth and development which causes more pressure on the heart which leads to heart failure or circulatory deficits.

With an overall prevalence of 26.6%, it is recommended that only 12.1% of cases can be detected by clinical evaluation. Among the most common congenital heart defects, ventricular septal abnormalities consist of 17.3% of all congenital abnormalities followed by atrial septal defects (6.0%) and other less common heart diseases. The highest mortality rate with cyanotic heart disease.

Some Facts About Congenital Heart Disease

According to research statistics reported by Julien I.E Hoffman, more than 1 million patients were born with congenital heart abnormalities (during 1940 to 2002). Considering the quality of medical services and surgical / medical advances, Hoffman suggested that the number of survivors with mild heart disease (who might reach adulthood) was 750,000 with mild heart disease, 400,000 with moderate heart disease, and 180,000 with moderate heart disease (180,000).

with care). Without any management or care, the survival rate could drop to 400,000 with mild illness, 220,000 with moderate disease, and 30,000 with severe heart disease, indicating a very high mortality rate.

Congenital heart disease is also associated with stunted growth and development in children characterized by poor weight gain, failure to develop and often being hospitalized while growing up.

In addition, these children also often experience episodes of shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat (also known as tachycardia) and fatigue attacks associated with decreased exercise endurance.

Recommended Therapy

Physical therapy and light exercise greatly help in the growth and development of children born with congenital heart disease. It is important not to start sports therapy in these children without seeking guidance from a registered physical therapist who works in coordination with a child cardiologist to provide the best exercise regimen to optimize health without burdening the heart.

Generally, children and adults can do moderate static exercise with mild intensity without complications; However, healthcare providers severely limit weight gain in pediatric age children and even in adults born with heart disorders.

Care must be taken not to lift the burden of more than 25 pounds in children and more than 50 pounds in adults. Physical therapists and pediatric cardiologists must assess each child individually and suggest specific exercises and treatments according to the severity of the disease and overall physical health.

Treadmill tests, cycling, and echocardiography are mainly used as assessment tools because the risk of sudden death increases if the active activity is carried out in children born with aortic stenosis, cyanotic heart disease and coarctation of the aorta. 

diatric cardiologists must assess each child individually and suggest specific exercises and treatments according to the severity of the disease and overall physical health. 

Treadmill tests, cycling, and echocardiography are mainly used as assessment tools because the risk of sudden death increases if an active activity is carried out in children born with aortic stenosis, cyanotic heart disease and coarctation of the aorta.

Hard exercise or traditional exercise increases cardiac output which may overload the heart and can increase the risk of sudden cardiac complications or death. Conversely, exercises carried out under the guidance of a physical therapist provide many benefits.

Exercise or physical activity is needed to build stamina and maintain exercise endurance especially in school children who are involved in physical activity with peers.

Physical therapy increases the speed of mental and physical development that allows children to develop healthy social relationships with peers, muscle and motor coordination and mental concordance.

Physical therapy and periodic assessments are also needed to determine the physical capacity of children and to track deterioration of heart abnormalities as we age (to avoid accidents or unwanted incidents in schools) by limiting excessive physical activity.

Congenital Heart Disease in Children

In some children, health care providers delay surgery until the child has passed several developmental milestones; However, it is very important that up to that time the child remains in the best physical condition to reduce the risk of surgical complications.

According to scientific peer-reviewed journals - American Family Physicians have 5 stages of recommendations for physical activity from Physical Activity in Children with CHD, ranging from no restrictions to extreme restrictions on physical activity (wheelchair bound).

Without any physical therapy, the development of being severely disabled is quite high. It is the parent's job to promote healthy physical activity but be sure to prevent contact sports or strong activities that can affect heart function.

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