Congenital Heart Defects

doctor checking boy heart

Because the discovery of a heart defect in your baby will make necessary some changes in pregnancy management and delivery of the baby, it's very important that the defect is found early on so plans can be made accordingly.

Congenital heart defects, or CHD, as it is also known, is a condition that is characterized by heart defects that were present at birth. As a general description of what a heart defect is, the American Heart Association gives this definition: “A [heart] defect results when the heart or blood vessels near the heart don't develop normally before birth.”

Congenital heart defects are only found in 9 out of every 1000 births, but that doesn't take away from the seriousness of the condition of those nine babies. CHD is a general term for a group of 17 heart defects that can be present in babies. This article will give you the information you need so that you are prepared if your baby is born with a heart defect.

{ MORE: New Heart Screening at Birth Could Save Your Child’s Life }

Causes

Unfortunately, there isn't a known cause for congenital heart defects. Doctors' best guess is that the condition is genetic, but “only a few genes have been discovered that have been linked to the presence of heart defects.” 

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Congenital Heart Defects

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