What are Congenital Heart Defects?
Congenital (kon-JEN-ih-tal) heart defects are problems with the heart's structure that are present at birth. These defects can involve:
- The interior walls of the heart
- The valves inside the heart
- The arteries and veins that carry blood to the heart or the body
How common is Congenital Heart Defect?
- Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect.
- They affect 8 out of every 1,000 newborns.
- Each year, more than 35,000 babies in the United States are born with congenital heart defects.
What are the symptoms?
- There are many types of congenital heart defects. They range from simple defects with no symptoms to complex defects with severe, life-threatening symptoms.
What may be the cause of Congenital Heart Defects in Children?
- Congenital heart defects happen because of incomplete or abnormal development of the fetus' heart during the very early weeks of pregnancy.
- Some are known to be associated with genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, but the cause of most congenital heart defects is unknown.
What are some common types of heart defects seen in children?
- Holes in the Heart (Septal Defects) - The wall prevents blood from mixing between the two sides of the heart. Some babies are born with holes in the septum. These holes allow blood to mix between the two sides of the heart.
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus - (PDA) is a fairly common heart defect that can occur soon after birth. In PDA, abnormal blood flow occurs between the aorta and the pulmonary artery. A heart murmur might be the only sign of PDA. Other signs and symptoms can include shortness of breath, poor feeding and growth, tiring easily, and sweating with exertion.
How is Congenital Heart Defect Treated?
- Many of these defects are simple conditions. They need no treatment or are easily fixed.
- Babies born with complex congenital heart defects require special medical care soon after birth.
- Today, almost all children who have complex heart defects survive to adulthood and can live active, productive lives.
- In the United States, more than 1 million adults are living with congenital heart defects.
DMC’s Michigan Adult Congenital Heart Center at the Children's Hospital of Michigan
The Michigan Adult Congenital Heart Center (MACH) provides diagnostic, medical, surgical and non-surgical treatments. Recenly, the heart and heart surgery program at the Children's Hospital of Michigan, part of MACH, was recognized among America's best in U.S. News Media Group's 2012-13 Best Children's Hospitals survey. Appointments at the MACH clinic can be made by calling 1-877-344-MACH (6224).