Congenital Heart Defect; A Common Birth Defect

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A baby sleeping.Affecting approximately one in every 125 babies born, congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common birth defect. Forty thousand people are born each year with a CHD; 4,000 will not survive their first year. Twice as many children die each year from a CHD than all forms of Pediatric Cancers combined. The eight most common defects account for 80% of all congenital heart diseases, while the remaining 20% consist of many independently infrequent conditions or combinations of several defects. Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is generally considered to be the most common type of malformation, accounting for about 1/3 of all congenital heart defects.

What is Congenital Heart Defect?

Congenital heart defect is not a disease. It is an abnormality that results when the heart or blood vessels near the heart do not develop normally before birth.

How Do Congenital Heart Defect Develop?

Congenital heart defects are not common, however, it is the most common congenital organ defect seen in children.

In many cases, we do not know what causes them but, some known causes include:

  • Certain conditions like Down Syndrome
  • Viral infection (eg. rubella in a pregnant mother)
  • Pregnant women who drink too much alcohol or use ‘street drugs’
  • Heredity

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