Congenital Heart Disease is considered to be the most common birth defect, and is a leading cause of birth-defect related deaths worldwide.
Despite the fact that CHD affects approximately 1.8 millions families in the U.S., a relatively small amount of funding is currently available for parent/patient educational services, research, and support.
Congenital Heart Defect Fact Sheet
- Sometimes during early pregnancy, a baby's heart fails to form properly, resulting in structural abnormalities known as Congenital Heart Defects. Although some defects are genetic, in many cases the cause is unknown.
- It is estimated that 40,000 babies with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) are born in the United States each year. More than 1 million American children and adults with Congenital Heart Defects and Childhood Onset Heart Disease are alive today.*
- CHD is the most frequently occurring birth defect, and is the leading cause of birth-defect related deaths.
- Although some babies will be diagnosed at birth, newborns are not routinely screened for CHD. The consequences of a late diagnosis can have serious, lifelong implications, so it is important for the public to be aware of the signs and symptoms in newborns, and children.
- Some CHDs may not require treatment other than periodic visits to a Pediatric Cardiologist. Others can be treated with medications or repaired with surgery and/or procedures. Complex defects may require several surgeries and are never really "cured".
- Many cases of sudden cardiac death in young athletes are caused by undiagnosed CHDs and Childhood Onset Heart Disease.
- It is estimated that more adults than children are living with congenital heart disease, and this population is expected to grow by 5% each year. Yet, many adults with CHD are not receiving adequate ongoing care from trained specialists.
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Defects
|Parents should be alert to the following symptoms in infancy: |
|Some children with CHDs may not have any symptoms until later in childhood. Things to look for include: |
If your child has two or more of these symptoms, talk to your pediatrician about a referral to a Pediatric Cardiologist.
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