Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is another name for a congenital heart defect. The word congenital refers to the fact that the patient is born with the condition. Congenital heart disease develops naturally, it is not associated with lifestyle choices, disease or illness, though the disease may be exacerbated by these choices and/or conditions. There are multiple conditions which fall under the category of Congenital Heart Disease, ranging from mild to life-threatening. In terms of birth defects, congenital heart disease is the most common. About eight in every 1,000 infants are born with a congenital heart condition.
Types of CHD
Congenital Heart Disease is characterized as a condition where the heart of parts of the heart are abnormal and which may impede or change the natural blood flow in the heart. The change in blood flow is due to improper growth and development of the heart or parts of it in utero. Some common types of congenital heart disease include:
Multiple or Complex Congenital Heart Conditions
There are times when infants are born with multiple or complex congenital heart conditions. In some cases, surgery is required to fix a severe condition or multiple conditions with a compounding effect. Tetralogy of Fallot is the most common complex condition. It consists of four congenital heart defects. Treatments for the condition include open heart surgery completed during infancy.
Congenital Heart Disease is something parents cannot predict or prevent. Many conditions are mild and correct themselves over time or have little or no impact on health or lifespan; other conditions require medical attention.
Some congenital heart defects can be diagnosed prior to birth, with ultrasound or a special ultrasound test called "echocardiography", other times the defect is diagnosed after birth.