Some children in New York have congenital heart defects, although minor defects may not be diagnosed in young children. More serious ones might be detected either before birth or shortly after birth. Signs of a heart defect include delayed growth, rapid breathing or a bluish tint to fingernails, lips or skin.
There are also a number of tests that can diagnose a congenital heart defect. An echocardiography uses sound waves to diagnose a defect and can be done during pregnancy at 18 to 22 weeks. An echo can also help track the progress of a heart defect over time. An EKG uses sound waves to detect if a heart is beating irregularly or has an enlarged chamber. A chest X-ray shows a medical professional what the heart looks like and whether it is enlarged or if there is fluid in the lungs.
With a pulse oximetry, a sensor attached to a toe or finger estimates the amount of oxygen in the blood. A cardiac catheterization may repair heart defects and measure oxygen levels. It can also detect the mixing of blood in the two sides of the heart and create an image of blood in the heart and blood vessels on an X-ray.
Failure to diagnose a congenital heart defect means that a person might not get treatment for the condition. This lack of treatment could even be fatal. If a person or their loved one suffers because of a congenital heart defect, they might want to speak to an attorney about their rights. If the lack of diagnosis is because of a medical professional’s negligent medical treatment, the individual affected or their family might want to file a civil lawsuit. In addition to showing negligence, a successful suit will need to prove that the individual suffered damage because of the lack of diagnosis or misdiagnosis.