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Cyanotic Congenital Heart Disease is a Condition that Can Lead to Transplant

Woman hugging middle aged manThe term cyanotic congenital heart disease refers to several heart defects that exist at birth and cause low blood oxygen levels. Common defects associated with this disease include heart valves being absent, malformed, or unable to open wide enough, and defects in or around the ventricles. These defects can lead to low blood oxygen levels by hindering blood from traveling through the lungs to receive oxygen. Affected individuals may experience cyanosis, a condition characterized by bluish lips, fingers, and/or toes as a result of non-oxygenated blood being pumped throughout the body.

Visible cyanosis isn’t present in all cases of cyanotic heart disease; signs vary depending on each patient’s particular congenital heart defect/defects. Other common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Enlarged, clubbed fingers
  • Heavy sweating

Because the defects that cause congenital cyanotic heart disease are present at birth and typically prompt noticeable health concerns, many patients are diagnosed and receive surgery to correct defects as infants or children. However, the severity of this disease varies by case, and some patients are able to delay surgical intervention until adulthood (or altogether avoid) by taking medicines to control irregular heartbeats, open blood vessels, and eliminate extra fluids in the chest. When surgery can no longer be postponed, adult patients may undergo procedures to address abnormal heart valves, ventricles, and other associated problems. In the most severe cases, a heart transplant is necessary.

Tampa General Hospital’s Heart Transplant Program accepts adult patients with cyanotic congenital heart disease, among other life-threatening heart conditions, who have been individually evaluated by our medical professionals and meet necessary selection criteria. For information regarding Tampa General Hospital’s Heart Transplant Program selection criteria for adult patients, please call 1-800-505-7769 (press 1 for the heart transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or call the coordinator directly at (813) 844-4088.