Congenital Heart Disease (cont.)
In this Article
- What are congenital heart defects?
- How the heart works
- What are the types of congenital heart defects?
- What are other names for congenital heart defects?
- What causes congenital heart defects?
- What are the signs and symptoms and signs of congenital heart defects?
- How are congential heart defects diagnosed??
- How are congenital heart defects treated?
- Living with a congenital heart defect
- Congenital Heart Disease At A Glance
- Find a local Cardiologist in your town
Congenital Heart Disease At A Glance
- Congenital heart defects are problems with the
heart's structure that are present at birth. Congenital heart defects change
the normal flow of blood through the heart.
- Congenital heart defects are the most common type of
birth defect, affecting 8 out of every 1,000 newborns. Each year, more than
35,000 babies in the United States are born with congenital heart defects.
- There are many types of congenital heart defects
ranging from simple to very complex.
- Doctors don't know what causes most congenital heart
defects. Heredity may play a role.
- Although many heart defects have few or no symptoms, some do. Severe defects can cause symptoms such as:
- Rapid breathing.
- A bluish tint to skin, lips, and fingernails. This
is called cyanosis.
- Fatigue (tiredness).
- Poor blood circulation.
- Rapid breathing.
- Serious heart defects are usually diagnosed while a
baby is still in the womb or soon after birth. Some defects aren't diagnosed
until later in childhood, or even in adulthood.
- An echocardiogram is an important test for both
diagnosing a heart problem and following the problem over time. This test
helps diagnose problems with how the heart is formed and how well it's
working. Other tests include EKG (electrocardiogram), chest x ray, pulse
oximetry, and cardiac catheterization.
- Doctors treat congenital heart defects with catheter
procedures and surgery.
- Treatment depends on the type and severity of the
- With new advances in testing and treatment, most children with congenital heart defects grow into adulthood and can live healthy, productive lives. Some need special care all though their lives to maintain a good quality of life.
SOURCE: US Department of Health and Human Services. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Last Editorial Review: 5/12/2008
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