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Beyond Birth: Understanding Congenital Heart Disease 

Congenital Heart

Beyond Birth: Understanding Congenital Heart Disease 

The heart is one of the body's most vital organs and is responsible for pumping blood throughout your body. Given that this is among the body's most critical organs, the heart also experiences the most impact on your health; hence, the rise in heart diseases is constantly growing.

While there are multiple heart diseases out there, the month of February marks the awareness for Congenital Heart Diseases. This is why we'd like to discuss the same topic today. Hop on below to read everything you should know about congenital heart diseases.

What is Congenital Heart Disease?

Congenital means any disease or defect present at the time of the birth. Hence, CHD – also known as Congenital Heart Disease, is a defect in the heart's structure that is present from the time of birth. These defects include:

How Common is Congenital Heart Disease?

According to Cleaveland Clinic, Congenital Heart Diseases happen to be one of the most common types of birth defects, and it affects at least 9 out of every 1000 live births.

Types of Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart diseases are divided into two main types: Cyanotic and Acyanotic Congenital Heart Diseases.

1.  Cyanotic Congenital Heart Disease

Cyanotic congenital heart disease refers to heart defects that impact the amount of oxygen delivered throughout the body. This is also, at times, referred to as a critical congenital heart defect. The babies who are born with this type of congenital heart defect have low oxygen levels and need surgery. Some examples of cyanotic congenital heart diseases are:

Right heart obstructive lesions

The right heart obstructive lesions impact blood flow between the heart and the body.

Left heart obstructive lesions

The left heart obstructive defect refers to the conditions where the blood flow is reduced between the heart and the rest of the body.

Mixing lesions

In this heart defect, the systematic and pulmonary blood flow is intermixed, which can lead to many other problems.

2.  Acyanotic Congenital Heart Disease

The acyanotic congenital heart diseases refer to the defects which cause the heart to pump throughout the body abnormally. Some of the examples of the acyanotic congenital heart diseases are:

Hole in the heart

In this condition, one or more of the heart walls may have an abnormal opening in the heart. Depending on the location of the hole, this condition can be broken down into an atrioventricular canal, atrial septal defect, or ventricular septal defect.

Problems with the Pulmonary Artery

The pulmonary artery is the artery that helps carry blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs to get oxygenated. Hence, any problem in this artery can be crucial.  

Problems with the Aorta

The aorta is the main artery that helps carry blood away from the heart and delivers it to the rest of the body. Problems in the aorta can affect the delivery of blood to all your other vital organs.

Symptoms of Congenital Heart Disease

The symptoms of congenital heart disease might arise as soon as the baby is born. Some of these at-birth symptoms are:

However, at times, the symptoms of congenital heart disease might not be visible until adulthood. Some symptoms of a congenital heart defect that can arise in adults ages are:

Causes of Congenital Heart Disease

The reason why congenital heart defects happen is because the fetal heart doesn't develop properly in the uterus during the time it should have. While science is still out on the quest to seek answers to why it happens, many believe that it may be related to:

Risk Factors of Congenital Heart Diseases

There are certain environmental risk factors that can be the cause of the development of congenital heart diseases as well. Some of these include:


Rubella, also known as German Measles, occurs during pregnancy and can impact the development of the baby's heart while it is in the womb.


Certain medications, if taken during pregnancy, can severely impact the development of the heart, which ultimately can cause different types of congenital heart defects. Medications that are often linked to heart defects are isotretinoin (Claravis, Myorisan, etc), which is used to treat acne, or lithium, which is taken for bipolar disorders.


Doctors highly disapprove of alcohol intake during pregnancy. This is because drinking alcohol while pregnant is linked to a lot of heart defects development in the fetus.

Wrapping Up!

There are multiple types of congenital heart defects. Some may be mild, while others may hold life-threatening complications. However, with the advancement in technology, quick diagnosis, and development of all high-end medications, the survival rate for those born with congenital heart defects has drastically improved.

If you are someone who was out on a search for information on congenital heart defects, then we hope this article was helpful for you. With this aside, if you are someone who once went through this heart condition, then we are proud of how bravely you fought it, and if you are someone who faced the loss of a child through this condition, then we hope time heals your wounds. We hope this article was sufficient enough to add to your knowledge. Our staff at Healthy Kids Care at Sunrise are here to answer any questions or concerns.

In Health,

Dr. Atousa


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