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Congenital Heart Disease

A group of heart disorders present since birth can be categorized as congenital heart diseases (CHDs). They are also known as congenital heart defects and can involve:

  • Heart structure or walls: the typical heart wall structure may be faulty or poorly developed, causing the blood to back up into the heart or pool in irregular places. This puts extra pressure on the heart to function normally.

  • Heart valves: they could be poorly developed, rigid, absent, or closed. This can cause poor blood flow or leakage in the heart.

  • Heart vessels: the arteries and veins are faulty or poorly developed. This can cause health complications like blood leakage, high blood pressure, etc.

There are several types of congenital heart diseases, and their severity depends upon the presence or absence of symptoms and the level of health deterioration with advancing age. Congenital heart defects affect millions of people worldwide, with people needing medical care throughout their lives and many of them being able to live their lives with very few or almost no side effects.

Differentiation of congenital heart diseases

  • Cyanotic: This causes decreased oxygen blood levels. Symptoms in babies may include bluish skin appearance and breathlessness.
  • Acyanotic: The blood oxygen levels remain normal, but the children may develop pulmonary hypertension in later life.

Symptoms of congenital heart diseases can be:

Newborns may show

  • Bluish skin

  • Breathing problems

  • Difficulty with feeding

  • Chest pain

  • Developmental delays

  • Low birth weight

  • In many cases, the symptoms do not appear much later in life

  • Breathing issues

  • Heart arrhythmias

  • Dizziness or fainting of unknown cause

  • Swelling

Cause of congenital heart diseases

There is no known specific cause to know why the heart fails to develop normally, but some known reasons can be

  • Genetic reason

  • Certain medications the mother takes during pregnancy can increase the chances of congenital heart defects.

  • Alcohol or drug use during pregnancy

  • Viral infection during 1st trimester of pregnancy

  • High uncontrolled diabetes

  • Complications of CHD in Adulthood

  • Heart arrhythmia

  • Bacterial endocarditis

  • Pulmonary hypertension


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What are some types of cyanotic congenital heart diseases?

Some types of CCHDs are:

l Ebstein anomaly

l Hypoplastic left heart

l Pulmonary atresia

l Tetralogy of Fallot

l Total anomalous pulmonary venous return

l Transposition of the great vessels

l Tricuspid atresia

l Truncus arteriosus

Which genetic disorders are predisposing factors for developing CHD?

Genetic disorders like DiGeorge syndrome, Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome, Noonan syndrome, Edwards syndrome, Trisomy 13, and Turner syndrome can increase the chances of a child having CHD.

Which is the most common genetic cause of congenital heart disease?

Down’s syndrome is found to be the most common genetic cause of CHD.

Is it possible to have an everyday life with congenital heart disease?

A lot of people with CHD live almost everyday lives, some of them live with little to no issues, and some may need medical help for the rest of their lives.

What lifestyle changes are advised for children with congenital heart disease?

Children with severe CHD need medical supervision all around the clock. Kids with Non-serious CHD may need to limit exercise and playtime and take extra calories to maintain good health.

Is atrial septal defect a cyanotic congenital heart disease?

The atrial septal defect does not change blood oxygen levels and is a non-cyanotic congenital heart condition.

Which is the most common congenital heart disease?

A ventricular septal defect is currently the most common CHD.

How common are CHDs? 

As per data, almost 1% of all live births suffer from Congenital heart disease

What are the survival statistics for children with congenital heart disorders? 

According to government data, almost 95% of children born with a non-serious congenital heart disorder live up to at least 18 years of age.

Do I need to see a doctor regularly, even with a mild CHD?

As per standard procedure, all adults and children with any CHD need to see a cardiologist/ heart specialist regularly, depending on the severity of disease.


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