Infant Methemoglobinemia is popularly known as the blue baby syndrome, wherein the baby appears to be blue as the blood is unable to carry enough oxygen because of less hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin, an essential protein for the blood that helps the blood carry necessary oxygen, is sometimes found in reduced quantities in the baby’s blood. This results in the blood’s inability to carry oxygen. That is why the baby’s skin turns blue because of the absence of oxygen-rich blood. This condition is termed the blue baby syndrome, which is very common in developing countries and rural areas. If you live around Delhi-NCR, you must consult a good pediatric cardiologist in Gurgaon if anything like this occurs.
What are the Reasons for Blue Baby Syndrome?
In a normal human body, the blood goes into the lungs to get oxygen, which is distributed in every part of the body. However, with certain heart defects and a reduced hemoglobin level, the blood is deprived of enough oxygen to send to the cells, tissues, and organs. Such a condition causes the blue skin in the baby, which means the blood in the baby is oxygen-deprived. Some other causes of Infant Methemoglobinemia or Blue Baby Syndrome are-
1. Tetralogy of Fallot– Tetralogy of Fallot or TOF is a congenital heart defect that roughly means four types of heart defects that causes oxygen-poor blood to flow in the baby’s body due to reduced blood flow. The four defects are:
· A hole between the ventricles.
· Displacement of the aorta.
· An increased thickness in the wall of the right ventricle.
· A blockage in the valve joining the right ventricle and the pulmonary arteries.
You must go for regular check-ups at an expert cardiologist in Gurgaon to treat such a heart condition.
2. Methemoglobinemia- This is a heart condition in babies under 6 months old wherein an excessive amount of methemoglobin is produced. The nitrate in the body gets converted to nitrite and mixed with the blood to form methemoglobin. Methemoglobin is a form of haemoglobin that cannot release oxygen to the cells, which causes the babies to turn blue. Consulting the best pediatric cardiologist in Gurgaon at the earliest can help treat the condition well.
3. Gestational Diabetes– This type of diabetes develops during the gestational period because of uncontrolled blood sugar in pregnancy.
Other causes of the blue baby syndrome include other heart defects like Pulmonary atresia, Tricuspid atresia, Pulmonary hypertension, Truncus arteriosus, transpositional arteries, Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, etc.
Signs of Blue Baby Syndrome
Identifying a blue baby syndrome or Infant Methemoglobinemia is easy as the most common sign of such a heart condition is the hands, feet and the area around the mouth getting a bluish tinge. The most common symptom of blue baby syndrome is a blue discolouration of the skin around the mouth, hands, and feet. This condition is called cyanosis, which means
the baby’s blood lacks enough oxygen. If your baby shows one or more of the following signs, you must take them to a good pediatric cardiologist in Gurgaon if you live nearby.
Some of the other symptoms of Blue Baby Syndrome are-
· Not being able to feed properly
· Unstable temperament issue
· Poor weight gain
· Poor development
· Deformity of fingers and toes.
· Breathing issues and shortness of breath.
· Nausea and vomiting
· Sudden fainting
· Abnormality is saliva production.
When a doctor receives a complaint that an infant is going through one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, they first note down their medical history, followed by physical examinations. A Paediatrician conducts various tests to confirm the reason behind such a health condition. The tests that are performed on the baby are-
· Several blood tests are to see the functioning of the heart.
. An X-ray of the chest to understand the condition of the lungs and the heart.
. Electrocardiogram to examine the electrical activities of the baby’s heart.
. Echocardiogram to further check if there is any deformity in the heart.
· A pulse oximetry is to determine the oxygen saturation in the blood.
After performing all these tests, doctors can determine if the baby is suffering from Infant Methemoglobinemia and the reasons behind it. After that, the baby is referred to the best pediatric cardiologist in Gurgaon or any other city to have the treatment started.
Treatment for Blue Baby Syndrome
Expert cardiologists follow two types of treatment procedures. These are-
1. Surgical Way of Treating Blue Baby Syndrome –
In case the reason is a congenital heart defect, a surgical process is recommended. The doctors suggest an Intra-Cardiac Corrective repair of tetralogy to repair of the ventricular septal deformity. This will help the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta without any restrictions. This surgical procedure also fixes the thickened pulmonary valve and enlarges the pulmonary arteries to increase the blood flow to the lungs.
2. Medicinal Way of Treating Blue Baby Syndrome –
The medical way is to take an intravenous Methylene Blue to treat the blue baby syndrome and take preventive measures like avoiding consuming contaminated water from wells or ponds.
For treating severe blue baby syndrome, an experienced pediatric cardiologist is recommended. Dr Manvinder Singh Sachdev has been practising for years and has mastered the field of pediatric cardiology. You know where to go if you want a cardiologist for your baby with country-wide popularity.
Blue baby syndrome is a rare health condition that has a moderate prognosis. If untreated, it may cause many other complications and even loss of life.