Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness is an annual effort to help educate the public about congenital heart defects. Participants include individuals, local support groups, national and local organizations, and congenital cardiology centers throughout the world.
What are Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs)?
Congenital heart defects are heart problems that develop before birth. Congenital heart defect is the most common type of birth defect. About 1 in 4 babies that are born with CHD has a critical CHD (Critical Congenital Heart Disease).
Different types of CHDs :
• Atrial Septal Defect
• Atrioventricular Septal Defect
• Coarctation of the Aorta*
• Double-outlet right ventricle*
• D-Transposition of the great arteries*
• Ebstein anomaly*
• Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome*
• Interrupted aortic arch*
• Pulmonary atresia*
• Single ventricle*
• Tetralogy of Fallot*
• Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return*
• Tricuspid atresia*
• Truncus Arteriosus*
• Ventricular Septal Defect
The defects with a star (*) are considered critical congenital heart defects
Signs of a Congenital Heart Defect:
• Rapid breathing
• Poor blood circulation
• Cyanosis – a bluish tint to the skin, lips, and fingernails
• May have no signs
How to diagnosis a Congenital Heart Defect:
During pregnancy many doctors use a special type of ultrasound called a fetal echocardiogram, which creates ultrasound pictures of the heart of the developing baby. Cardiologists will also run blood tests, chest x-rays, and other tests to get a better diagnosis for the child. Some children are not even diagnosed until they are older.
Treatments for a Congenital Heart Defect:
Treatment for each child may vary from: child’s age, size, the type of defect, how severe the defect is, and the child's overall health. Some children with congenital heart defect don’t need treatment. Other children may need treatments such as:
• Surgical procedures
• Heart transplants
• Cardiac catheterizations (a long tube called a catheter, is threaded through the blood vessels into the heart, where a doctor can take measurements, pictures, do tests, or repair the problem)
The causes of congenital heart defects among most babies are unknown, and the heart defects vary for each baby. However, medical treatment has advanced and infants with CHDs are living longer and healthier lives today. Be aware and be active in your child’s life. Share the information you’ve learned with others to keep Congenital Heart Defect awareness going.