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Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is a problem with the heart's structure and function that is present at birth.

Causes

Congenital heart disease can describe a number of different problems affecting the heart. It is the most common type of birth defect. CHD causes more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects.

Congenital heart disease is often divided into two types: cyanotic (blue skin color caused by a lack of oxygen) and non-cyanotic. The following lists cover the most common congenital heart diseases:

Cyanotic:

Ebstein's anomaly

  • Hypoplastic left heart
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return
  • Transposition of the great vessels
  • Tricuspid atresia
  • Truncus arteriosus

Non-cyanotic:

  • Aortic stenosis
  • Atrial septal defect
  • Atrioventricular canal
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Patent ductus arteriosus
  • Pulmonic stenosis
  • Ventricular septal defect

These problems may occur alone or together. Most children with CHD do not have other types of birth defects. However, heart defects may be part of genetic and chromosomal syndromes.

Often, no cause for the heart disease can be found. Congenital heart diseases continue to be investigated and researched. Drugs such as retinoic acid for acne, chemicals, alcohol and infections (such as rubella) during pregnancy can contribute to some congenital heart problems.

Poorly controlled blood sugar in women who have diabetes during pregnancy is also linked to a high rate of congenital heart defects.

Symptoms

Symptoms depend on the condition. Although congenital heart disease is present at birth, the symptoms may not appear right away.

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