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Congenital Heart Defects (Congenital Heart Diseases)

Congenital heart defects are problems with the heart's structure that are present at birth.

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(Source: NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Congenital Heart Defects (Congenital Heart Diseases)

Congenital (kon-JEN-ih-tal) heart defects are problems with the heart's structure that are present at birth. These defects can involve:

Congenital heart defects change the normal flow of blood through the heart.

There are many types of congenital heart defects. They range from simple defects with no symptoms to complex defects with severe, life-threatening symptoms.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect. They affect 8 out of every 1,000 newborns. Each year, more than 35,000 babies in the United States are born with congenital heart defects.

Many of these defects are simple conditions. They need no treatment or are easily fixed. Some babies are born with complex congenital heart defects. These defects require special medical care soon after... Read more about Congenital Heart Defects NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Newborn screening for congenital heart defects: a systematic review and cost-effectiveness analysis

The objectives of this study were to provide evidence to inform policy decisions about the most appropriate newborn screening strategy for congenital heart defects and to identify priorities for future research that might reduce important uncertainties in the evidence base for such decisions.

Inhaled nitric oxide to treat high blood pressure of the pulmonary vessels after surgery in infants and children with congenital heart disease

We reviewed the evidence on the effectiveness of inhaled nitric oxide for treatment of high blood pressure in the pulmonary vessels in infants and children born with heart disease.

A systematic review and economic evaluation of new-generation computed tomography scanners for imaging in coronary artery disease and congenital heart disease: Somatom Definition Flash, Aquilion ONE, Brilliance iCT and Discovery CT750 HD

Report finds that new-generation computed tomography (NGCCT) may be sufficiently accurate to diagnose clinically significant coronary artery disease (CAD) in some, or all, difficult-to-image patient groups and may be particularly useful in ruling out patients from further invasive investigations. Economic analyses suggest that NGCCT is likely to be considered cost-effective for difficult-to-image patients with CAD, at current levels of willingness to pay in the NHS. For patients with suspected CAD, the NGCCT-only strategy may be most favourable; for patients with known CAD, NGCCT along with invasive coronary angiography may be most favourable.

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Summaries for consumers

Pregnancy and birth: How helpful is pulse oximetry screening for serious heart defects in newborns?

A newborn baby’s heart and pulse are routinely checked after birth. An additional screening test called pulse oximetry can help detect life-threatening heart defects in newborns earlier and more reliably.

Inhaled nitric oxide to treat high blood pressure of the pulmonary vessels after surgery in infants and children with congenital heart disease

We reviewed the evidence on the effectiveness of inhaled nitric oxide for treatment of high blood pressure in the pulmonary vessels in infants and children born with heart disease.

Heart failure: Overview

Lots of people with heart failure avoid physical exercise to prevent breathlessness and heavy breathing. But exercise has been shown to be good for heart failure in the long term: Studies show that special cardio training programs can imrpove fitness and quality of life.

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Terms to know

Cardiac Valves (Heart Valves)
Any of the four heart valves that regulate the flow of blood through the chambers of the heart.
Congenital
Present since birth.
Coronary Artery
A principal artery that originates in the aorta. It supplies blood to the muscular tissue of the heart.
Coronary Blood Vessels
The vessels that deliver oxygen-rich blood to the myocardium are known as coronary arteries. The vessels that remove the deoxygenated blood from the heart muscle are known as cardiac veins.
Heart
The hollow, muscular organ that maintains the circulation of the blood.

More about Congenital Heart Defects

Photo of a baby

Also called: Congenital anomaly of heart, CHD

Other terms to know: See all 5
Cardiac Valves (Heart Valves), Congenital, Coronary Artery

Related articles:
How the Heart Works

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