Congenital Heart Disease

         Basic Facts

  • Congenital heart disease is a term used to describe a number of different heart defects that are present from birth.
  • Congenital heart defects change the flow of blood through the heart. 
  • Congenital heart defects range from simple, with no symptoms, to complex with life-threatening symptoms. 
  • Congenital heart disease can cause problems in children immediately after they are born. Some defects heal in childhood. Still other defects can become more abnormal with age and can cause symptoms and problems in adulthood.

With congenial heart disease, problems with the heart’s structure can include:  

  • Abnormally shaped blood vessels,
  • Missing or defective valves,
  • Abnormal connections between the heart and the main arteries and veins, and/or
  • Defects of the walls that separate the chambers of the heart.

Different types of congenital heart disease are classified into several categories including:  

  • Atrial and ventricular septal defects – With these defects, holes in the heart walls prevent blood from flowing properly. 
  • Coarctation of the aorta – This defect is characterized by a narrowing of the major artery (the aorta) that carries blood to the body.
  • Aortic, mitral, pulmonic, and tricuspid valve defects – These conditions involve problems with one or more of the heart’s four valves.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot – With this complex heart defect, not enough blood is able to reach the lungs to get oxygen, and oxygen-poor blood is circulated to the body.

Congenital Heart Disease FAQ