What is Congenital Heart Disease?

A congenital heart disease is a trouble with the structure of the heart that may be detected at birth or thru utero. It is a very common kind of birth disorder these days. It may either be minor or severe. It might either be because of holes in between the walls of the heart’s chambers, heart with narrow valves, blood vessels that are not formed or situated accordingly and narrow pulmonary valve.

Reliant to the quantity, kind, severity of the defects the kid might not feel any signs at all. It’s just that, it might be detected in a latter part of life when the kid gets tired from playing or from an activity. Some severe heart ailments typically happen in newborn babies and they show up after delivery or in a few months’ time. some common signs of heart defects are fast breathing, hardness to breath, murmuring of the heart or irregularity in heart beating, shortness of breath, lack of appetite, poor weight gain, loss of healthy color of the skin, bluish lip and nails due to lack of oxygen supply in the body.

To know if a child has a heart defect, the doctors will use a stethoscope to hear the heart beat and to know if there is an abnormal murmuring. A pulse oximetry screening might also be used; this is a sensor that will be attached to a finger to know the amount of oxygen supply available in the blood.  The doctor may also request for an x-ray to check the heart and lungs, an ultrasound known as echocardiogram may also be used to know the sound waves thru a photo. The doctor might also request for an electrocardiogram to know the heart’s electrical energy. The doctor will also take note of the baby’s blood pressure during physical tests.


There are no definite causes yet of congenital heart defects among infants, but there are proofs that genes are very much involved in it since parents with this ailment has a bigger chance of having a child with the same ailment. Though some genetic conditions like Down’s syndrome are also associated with congenital heart defects too, researchers are also taking a look at smoking, taking medicines like those for the treatment of cancer and seizures and drinking alcoholic beverages may affect the development of the child during pregnancy and cause congenital heart defects.


The rate of people with it


Around 35,000 infants or 8 among 1,000 babies in the US alone are born with heart defects.

The newest treatments available

There are lots of treatment options available these days depending on the heart defect and the person involved. Some minor congenital heart defects do not need any treatment at all.  For example, those with small holes between the heart chambers oftentimes close on its own as the child grows older. There are some cases wherein the heart may require further assistance like medication to help the heart work better.

For certain cases wherein the heart defect is detected in utero, the medication may be given to the mother to correct the problem before giving birth. Infants and kids with heart defects that must be repaired, doctors usually do a catheterization, this is a surgical process that is not invasive than the open heart surgery. During the process, the doctor will insert a catheter thru the blood vessels from the leg or from the neck going to the heart. There will be small tools that will be inserted to the body thru the catheter to do the heart repair.