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Symptoms of Heart Failure and Congenital Defects

December 9, 2009

Now we’ll continue our series about recognizing the varying symptoms for different heart diseases.

Symptoms of Heart Failure can include:

  • Shortness of breath noted during activity (most commonly) or at rest, especially when you lie down flat in bed.
  • Cough that produces white mucus.
  • Quick weight gain (a weight gain of two or three pounds in one day is possible).
  • Swelling in ankles, legs, and abdomen.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fatigue and weakness.
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats.
  • Other symptoms include nausea, palpitations, and chest pain.

Symptoms of Congenital Heart FailureLike valve disease, heart failure symptoms may not be related to how weak your heart is. You may have many symptoms, but your heart function may be only mildly weakened. Or you may have a severely damaged heart, with little or no symptoms.

Symptoms of Congenital Heart Defects:

These may be diagnosed before birth, right after birth, during childhood, or not until adulthood. It is possible to have a defect and no symptoms at all. Sometimes it can be diagnosed because of a heart murmur on physical exam or an abnormal EKG or chest X-ray in someone with no symptoms.

In adults, if symptoms of congenital heart disease are present, they may include:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Limited ability to exercise.
  • Symptoms of heart failure (see above) or valve disease (see above).

In Infants and Children, symptoms of congenital heart defects in infants and children may include:

  • Cyanosis (a bluish tint to the skin, fingernails, and lips).
  • Fast breathing and poor feeding.
  • Poor weight gain.
  • Recurrent lung infections.
  • Inability to exercise.

Contact your doctor if you recognize these symptoms or if you have questions.