What is congenital heart disease?

Congenital heart disease (present at birth) is a term used to describe a number of different conditions that affect the heart. 

These abnormal heart activities are problems that occur as the baby's heart develops during pregnancy and before the baby is born. 

Congenital heart disease affects 1 in 120 children in the United States, making congenital heart defects the most common birth defect.

congenital heart disease

Certain steps must be taken for the heart to form properly. Often, congenital heart disease results from not taking one of these important steps in time.

We can classify the different types of congenital heart disease into several categories to better understand the problems your child may have.

Methods of treating congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease ranges from simple to complex. Some heart problems can be detected by your baby's cardiologist and treated with medications, while others will require heart surgery or cardiac catheterization, sometimes as early as the first few hours after birth.

A child may continue to "grow" even with some minor heart problems, such as a patent ductus arteriosus or an atrial septal defect. 

These problems can be easily resolved on their own as the child grows. Other children will have more complex types of congenital heart disease, or a combination of different types, that require multiple procedures or catheter interventions and lifelong care.

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