Blue Baby Syndrome: Signs That Indicate Your Baby Is Not Getting Enough Oxygen
Crying can trigger symptoms of blue baby syndrome

Blue Baby Syndrome is a disorder is brought on by a deficiency in oxygen in the baby’s blood. Read on to know more.

Blue baby syndrome describes a visual sense of bluish colouring of the skin and mucosa. It is usually cause for concern. The baby’s lips, hands, earlobes, and nail beds are where the discolouration is most noticeable. This disorder is brought on by a deficiency in oxygen in the baby’s blood. Their skin turns a different colour than usual (such as blue or purple) due to the low oxygen level. A quick way to detect low oxygen saturation is by using a pulse oximeter, which should be used whenever possible.

Get to know more about blue baby syndrome from Dr. Vishal Dhir, Sr. Consultant, Cardiac Surgery, Metro Hospital, Faridabad.

Causes of blue baby syndrome

The important causes of blue baby syndrome are single ventricle physiology and transposition of the great arteries. Children have these defects from birth, and they have bluishness of nails and tongue. Mostly these children experience breathlessness and sweating. They may also suffer from syncope attacks, means they become unconscious. They are blue because their oxygen saturation is low and that is mixing in the heart of pure and impure products i.e., the oxygen saturation in low and these kids have symptoms due to low oxygen saturation.

Common symptoms of blue baby syndrome

Most children affected by blue baby syndrome typically exhibit symptoms such as breathlessness, profuse sweating, and episodes of syncope, which are common indicators of Tetralogy of Fallot. Additionally, the seating posture of these children may reveal distinct signs associated with these heart defects. Some individuals with Tetralogy of Fallot may also experience complications such as brain abscesses and the mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood between the right and left sides of the heart.

Treatment of blue baby syndrome

In terms of treatment, children affected by blue baby syndrome often have low oxygen saturation levels, and the goal of treatment is to enhance their oxygen saturation. Treatment options can be categorized into palliative and definitive procedures.

In palliative surgery, the focus is on creating shunts or pathways to improve oxygenation. One common approach involves creating a shunt to direct more oxygen-rich blood to the lungs, thereby increasing the child’s oxygen saturation. Among the palliative procedures, the most commonly performed ones include the Blalock-Taussig shunt and the Glenn procedure. As the child grows and develops, they may become candidates for definitive surgical procedures aimed at fully correcting the underlying heart defect.

In the context of cardiac repair, this may involve procedures like complete repair for Tetralogy of Fallot or arterial switch surgery for infants with transposition of the great arteries. For patients with single ventricle physiology, a Fontan procedure is often considered as part of their definitive treatment plan.

Is it possible to prevent blue baby syndrome?

The defect cannot be prevented but it can be diagnosed in utero (during pregnancy) via ultrasound.

Symptoms of blue baby syndrome can be prevented, and for that it is crucial to minimize situations where the child may become upset and cry, as crying can trigger cyanotic spells with distinct characteristics.

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