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Blue Baby Syndrome: Everything You Need to Know

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Blue Baby Syndrome: Everything You Need to Know

Cardiac Sciences | Posted on 07/14/2023 by

In the field of medical conditions, some are universally known, while some remain ambiguous. Blue baby syndrome is a condition that falls into an unknown category with its name-raising intrusiveness and interest. The condition is also known as cyanotic heart which is a life-threatening illness and majorly affects infants and newborn babies. So, it is always important to keep a check on babies when they are born. If you are a new mother, make sure to be mindful of this condition and if you suspect the condition, get in touch with the best multispeciality hospital in Jaipur, Rukmani Birla Hospital. You will discover the exceptionally talented healthcare professionals here offering the best patient care. 

In this write-up, we will be diving deep into the blue baby syndrome, exploring the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and options available for treatment.

What is a blue baby syndrome?

Blue baby syndrome, also referred to as methemoglobinemia is a condition in which a baby’s skin turns into blue color. It happens because of reduced hemoglobin in the blood of a baby. If the blood is not able to carry oxygen, then it leads to turning the baby’s body blue which is also known as cyanotic. There can be different reasons for the body when it is unable to receive sufficient oxygen. Blue baby syndrome is not very common, primarily in industrialized countries, but it does often happen in rural locations. Babies who are born in developing countries are more likely to develop this condition than those who are born in developed countries.

What are blue baby syndrome symptoms?

One of the primary symptoms of blue baby syndrome is blue discoloration of the skin across the mouth, hands, and feet. It reflects that the baby’s body is not getting sufficient oxygen. Here are some of the probable blue baby syndrome symptoms:

  • Breathing issues 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Lethargy 
  • Vomiting
  • Consciousness loss
  • Increased saliva 
  • Seizures

What causes blue baby syndrome?

Blue baby syndrome is often caused due to an underlying heart condition that involves:

  • Truncus arteriosus: Babies are born with this condition and miss the valve lying between the lower heart chambers
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return: It is not a very common condition. In this defect, blood vessels drain the lungs which aren’t connected to the heart. 
  • Great artery transportation: Blood vessels delivering blood are referred to as the aorta and right ventricle causing the body to pump the blood in the opposite direction. 
  • Tricuspid atresia: Babies are born with this problem. It is a group of linked defects that need clinical attention.
  • Pulmonary atresia: In this condition, babies are born with one of the heart valves that are unable to work appropriately. It implies that the blood is unable to flow from the heart to the lungs carrying oxygen.

How is blue baby syndrome diagnosed?

The very step followed to diagnose blue baby syndrome is initiated through a physical assessment and understanding the medical history. There are various tests involved in performing a number of tests. The tests are helpful in determining the blue baby syndrome. Here are the tests which are often involved:

  • Blood tests ‘
  • Chest x-rays for examining the lungs and heart size
  • Electrocardiogram for viewing the heart’s electrical activity 
  • Echocardiogram for understanding the heart anatomy 
  • Cardiac catheterization for visualizing the heart arteries 
  • Oxygen saturation test for determining the amount of oxygen that is there in the blood

What are the options available for blue baby syndrome treatment?

There are certain options available for blue baby syndrome treatment which includes: 

  • Surgical management: This treatment method is considered when there is a case of congenital heart defects. There are two forms of surgery which are:
  • Intra-cardiac corrective repair of tetralogy of Fallot: This type of procedure involves placing a patch of synthetic dacron for closing the ventricular septal defect so that the blood is flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. The method is also useful in repairing or replacing the narrowed pulmonary valve and broadening the pulmonary arteries for enhancing blood flow to the lungs. 
  • Medication Management –Another blue baby syndrome treatment is medication management and involves recommending intravenous methylene blue.


Blue baby syndrome is among the rare conditions which involve a number of different causes. If your baby is suffering from the condition, then your doctor might recommend immediate treatment like surgery. However, everything is considered beforehand because surgery can be risky for newborns. After the cause is detected and successfully treated, most children with blue baby syndrome can easily live their life. For more information or treatment options, then you can get in touch with Rukmani Birla Hospital, Jaipur as they have the best and most highly-skilled healthcare experts. 


Is blue baby syndrome fatal?

Yes, blue baby syndrome can be fatal and can even lead to death if not treated in the early stage.

Can blue baby syndrome be cured?

Yes, blue baby syndrome can be cured with on-time diagnosis and treatment options.