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Can an enlarged heart be detected at birth?

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My two month old grand daughter recently died. Preliminary reports indicated an enlarge heart: Background: Two days prior to her death, the pediatrician was informed that my grand daughter was not eating and anything she attempted to take she vomitted (not normal vomitting, but volcano like). The next day, she was seen by the pediatrician and was told she appeared to be stress, but vomitting, gave her immunizations, and sent her home. Later that same day, my grand daughter continued with not eating and vomitting, so she was taken to the emergency room. Upon her arrival she was monitored and checked out and nothing was found. Some time during the examination and monitoring, she required a blood transfusion. Because her blood type was not known, she was given blood type that could be used by "anyone". Almost immediately following transfusion, she went into cardiac arrest. She was revived, stabilized and 8 - 10 hours later transferred to another hospital where she later died. My questions are: 1. If she had an enlarged heart at birth, is this something easily detected by physical examination? 2. If she was already ill, would giving her immunization cause stress on her heart to the point of enlargement? 3. Would receiving the wrong blood type cause heart to become enlarged?
Posted Wed, 25 Apr 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 49 minutes later

Thanks for writing to us.

The exact cause of death and the conditions which lead to those circumstances can best be judged by the doctor who treated her last. Still as you want , I will try my level best to satisfy your queries.

1.Enlarged heart is not a very common finding so if the physician does not look for it specifically he is likely to miss it. This is looked for only if the patient complains of symptoms like shortness of breath, palpitation, bluish discoloration of face on crying, etc. Investigations like chest X-ray are more confirmatory of enlarged heart.

2. Immunization only triggers the response by body's immune system and does not produce any extra load on the heart.

3.Receiving the wrong blood type or excessive amount of blood does increase the cardiac work and if it exceeds the cardiac capacity, it can cause cardiac dilatation followed by heart failure.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. If there are additional concerns, I am available for your followups.
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