CHD, often misstated as Congenital Heart Disease, more appropriately represents Congenital Heart Defects. The word “congenital” means existing at birth, this kind of heart ailment is a defect or abnormality, not a disease. The defect is a result of the heart or blood vessels near the heart not developing properly before birth.
A healthy heart is a hard-working, fist sized pump made of four chambers and valves that send blood from the body to the heart, heart to lungs, and heart back to body. Congenital Heart Defects can range from a hole in one of the chambers, narrowing of major arteries, a thickened valve and so on.
Common Types of Heart Defects:
- Aortic Valve Stenosis (AVS)
- Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
- Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA)
- Complete Atrioventricular Canal defect (CAVC)
- d-Transposition of the Great Arteries
- Ebstein’s Anomoly
- Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
- I-Transposition of the Great Arteries
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- Pulmonary Atresia
- Pulmonary Valve Stenosis
- Single Ventricle Defects
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC)
- Tricuspid Atresia
- Truncus Arteriosus
- Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
Out of 1,000 births, at least eight babies will have some form of congenital heart disorder, most of which are mild. If you or other family members have already had a baby with a heart defect, your risk of having a baby with a heart defect may be higher.
It is unknown exactly what causes congenital heart defects, but it is presumed to mostly be linked to genetics, rarely drug use and infections during pregnancy may also cause CHD.
Depending on the severity of the defect, CHD can decrease exercise capacity or developmental delays.
Not everyone with a CHD requires treatment. Some people may only need to visit a cardiologist and stay under observation. In other cases, surgery or a cardiac catheterization may be needed to reduce the effects of the heart defect, or to repair the defect.