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Heart Attacks in Children

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health cover, highlights heart attacks in kids.


What Causes Heart Attacks in Children?

There are various possible reasons for a childhood heart attack, such as:

Congenital Cardiac Condition

Congenital heart disease also refers to congenital heart defects. That is an umbrella term for cardiac conditions associated with birth. It affects approximately 1% of live newborns. Children with a history of some congenital cardiac abnormalities may suffer. They may experience a coronary artery occlusion-related heart attack.

Anomalous Origin of the Left Coronary Artery

Abnormal origins of left coronary arteries are examples of congenital cardiac disease. That occurs during the formation of the heart and blood arteries. In the heart, the left coronary artery attaches to the pulmonary artery rather than the aorta. When the heart does not receive enough blood from the coronary arteries, it begins to fail. That is like what happens during a heart attack. But the condition is rare. It occurs in fewer than 1% of all congenital cardiac problems in children.

Congestive Heart Disease

The following are examples of congestive heart diseases in kids.


Rheumatic heart condition:

3 to 5 million children worldwide live with chronic rheumatic heart disease. It is a severe complication of rheumatic fever. Failure to treat rheumatic fever may lead to:


Kawasaki disease:

Over 4 000 children live with Kawasaki disease, which causes heart disease in children under five every year. The illness affects the coronary arteries causing acute inflammation. It can also lead to the creation of coronary artery aneurysms. That may result in a heart attack.


Chest Trauma:

Blunt chest trauma from an injury or accident may rarely lead to heart attacks in children.

When to Consult a Physician

Early symptoms may signal a heart attack or another cardiac illness.

If a parent or caregiver observes the following symptoms in a child, seek medical attention.

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bluish colour to the lips, tongue or nail beds
  • Paleness
  • Passing out during physical exercise or activity
  • Fast or rapid breathing
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Skin paleness
  • Hypotension
  • Weak pulse
  • Chest discomfort in youngsters

Evaluation and Treatment

A healthcare expert can check for symptoms using one of three diagnostic tools:

  1. X-rays of the chest can reveal whether the heart has enlarged.
  2. Echocardiograms can assess the structure and function of the heart.
  3. An exercise stress test can test cardiopulmonary function.


“There is no prevention for some paediatric cardiac diseases. But there are signals parents may look for and actions they can take. That can lead to early recovery,” says Murray Hewlett, Affinity Health CEO. “Discuss concerns with a paediatrician to detect an underlying cardiac problem. Assessing your child with the aid of a paediatrician will help you select your next step. That may involve screening testing, lifestyle modifications, or referral to a paediatric cardiologist.”


Learn More: Everything You Need to Know About Hypertension

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is the leading provider of affordable medical insurance in South Africa. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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