This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Blue or purplish color of the skin, lips, and under the skin; coolness of the body; palpitation; shortness of breath; bulbous enlargement of tips of fingers and toes; incurved nails; dropsical symptoms.
The cause of the peculiar coloration in this disease is some malformation of the heart or its large vessels, by means of which there is a mixture of arterial and venous blood so that the blood is not properly purified. One of the most common causes of malformation is failure of the foramen ovale, or the opening through the partition dividing the right and left auricle, to close after birth. This closure generally occurs within a short time after birth, preventing mixture of the blood of the two sides of the heart. When it remains open the individual becomes cyanotic. Sometimes other malformations occur, such as a transposition of the large arteries, the aorta arising from the right ventricle, and the pulmonary artery from the left, with various other deficiencies and abnormalities.
Transposition of the heart sometimes occurs. A few years ago we had a patient under treatment in whom the heart was found upon the right side, the liver being transposed to the left, and other internal organs, so far as could be ascertained, having undergone the same transposition. No inconvenience was suffered from the peculiarity, the heart apparently performing its function as well as, when in its proper position.
Infants, born with the deficiences described, generally die very early. Sometimes, however, individuals affected in this way, have been known to reach advanced life. No special treatment is indicated, as the disease is of an incurable nature; but great care should be taken to protect the patient from all influences which will disturb the circulation in any way. The danger of taking cold should be especially avoided, with exposure to measles, whooping-cough, diphtheria, and all diseases which affect the respiratory organs.