With my wife expecting the arrival of our new son in the next few weeks, I can not help but to pray that they both surpass the ordeal safely. Hoping that our second child will also be born normal.
As the full term is nearing, both excitement and anxiety fills every gap of our conscious mind. It is somewhat stressful. Last night, I succumbed to tonsillitis. A combined effect of stress and erratic weather. It came quite a surprise though, since I haven't been bothered by tonsillitis for sometime now. It just bothered me since I had a history of rheumatic fever in my childhood due to frequent battles with tonsillitis, and this has led me to wonder on the possibilities whether my expected son could inherit such predisposition.
So I did some web searching. One of the most striking relationships I found that could have a congenital effect on newborn was about mitral valve defects.
The mitral valve , a.k.a. bicuspid valve, is a dual flap tissue inside the heart. It lies between the left atrium and the left ventricle which functions as a regulatory measure preventing the back-flow of blood from the ventricle to the atrium. In the normal cardiac cycle, once the oxygen filled blood from the lungs enters the atrium, the mitral valve relaxes allowing it to pass through the left ventricle for distribution to the other parts of the body via the aorta. At the same time that the ventricles contract, the valve shuts close preventing any back flow. However, if the mitral valve is defective, a portion of the oxygenated blood enters back to the atrium, reducing the amount of blood that will be distributed to the entire body. It produces a murmur sound that can be heard by auscultation.
Several factors can cause such malfunction and one reason can be associated to rheumatic heart disease. If left unchecked, the condition can be fatal. Good thing, modern medicine has come up with ways to do mitral valve repair. Several institutions have specialized in treating the condition with high percentage of safety and success. They can either do mitral valve surgery or altogether do mitral valve replacement.
Knowing this, it comes as source of relief. Plus of course, staying in faith that my expected son would be free any congenital anomaly. At least, if ever he would be contracting tonsillitis later on, it would be easier to prevent and treat.
* Illustration courtesy of http://www.mhhe.com