Congenital Heart Defects

I am determined not to let my heart disease limit me.

Deborah, living with congenital heart disease

On my next visit to the doctor, I want to be prepared.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

I'm willing to try a new treatment or medication.

Congenital means present from birth. So, congenital heart defects refers to a number of different conditions that can occur when a baby’s heart is forming or at birth. As a result, the heart—or the major vessels in and around the heart—may not develop or work the way they should.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect. Roughly 8 of every 1,000 babies are born with some sort of structural defect in their hearts. These problems cause more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects. Some examples are atrial septal defect, coarctation of the aorta, and aortic stenosis.

But, there is good news. More babies are surviving than ever before thanks to advances in treating and correcting many of these problems. Although most defects are found during pregnancy by ultrasound or in early childhood, some defects aren’t discovered until adulthood. About 1 million adults are living with congenital heart disease. 

If you or your child have a heart defect, it can be very scary. But there are a number of treatment options depending on the type of defect and the symptoms. It’s important to find a cardiologist who specializes in congenital heart defects and get support. Use this condition center to learn more about congenital heart defects. You can also chat online with others like you and keep up with the latest research.

Congenital Heart Defects News & Events

A Healthy Heart in Your Golden Years

Sep 27, 2013
CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief JoAnne Foody writes about a few key steps that we should all take to boost heart health.

Tour de France Riders Live Longer, Study Finds

Sep 24, 2013
Elite cyclists live longer and have lower risk of death compared to average adults.

Registry Program Sheds Light on Quality of Care

Sep 23, 2013
A report on data from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry highlights success stories and areas of improvement in cardiovascular care.

Sudden Cardiac Death Risk Low Among High School Athletes

Sep 23, 2013
Study urges against widespread screenings to help prevent sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

Does It Cost More to Eat Healthy?

Sep 17, 2013
Increased food costs discourage adults from adhering to blood pressure-lowering diet, according to a recent study.

Innovative Anti-Smoking Campaign a Success

Sep 11, 2013
First federally funded anti-smoking campaign helps smokers quit with tips from former smokers.

E-Cigarettes: Helping Smokers Quit?

Sep 10, 2013
Study finds e-cigarettes are more effective than patches in helping smokers kick the habit for good.

Coca-Cola Family Track Walk in Chicago

Sep 04, 2013
Members of the American College of Cardiology's CardioSmart team will be at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 15 to share tips on heart health and the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Medication Adherence Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Aug 12, 2013
Taking heart medications properly greatly reduces risk for complications and death, study finds.

Caloric Intake of Obese Children is Underestimated

Aug 12, 2013
Study uses model to show obese children consume significantly more calories each day than healthy children.

Study Highlights Need For More AEDs

Aug 09, 2013
Availability of life-saving devices must be widespread in public places.

Echocardiograms Unnecessary for the General Population

Jul 30, 2013
Study finds that a useful heart test has negligible benefit for healthy patients without a family history of heart disease.

Small Restaurants Have Calorie-Packed Items, Too

Jul 30, 2013
Meals from non-chain or small-chain restaurants typically have higher calorie content than their fast-food peers.

Sodium Levels Remain High in Popular Foods

Jul 30, 2013
Study finds little progress in reducing sodium levels of common processed and restaurant foods since 2005.

Noisy Airports May Impact Heart Health of Nearby Residents

Jul 23, 2013
Study shows noise from planes may disrupt sleep, worsening cardiovascular health.

Experts Recognize Obesity as a Disease

Jul 22, 2013
The American Medical Association joins health organizations in acknowledging obesity as a disease, deserving of proper treatment and prevention.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Directly Linked to Risk for Sudden Cardiac Death

Jun 11, 2013
A common sleep disorder may significantly increase risk of sudden cardiac death.

Vegetarians May Live Longer Than Meat Eaters

Jun 05, 2013
New research confirms that vegetarian dietary patterns can extend longevity.

Mediterranean Diet Could Prevent Memory Loss

Jun 05, 2013
In addition to being heart-healthy, the Mediterranean diet may also help protect our minds.

Novel Ads Encourage Smokers to Ask Their Doctors About Quitting

Jun 05, 2013
A new national campaign aiming to curb smoking rates features real stories from former smokers.

Magnets in iPad 2 May Interfere with Heart Devices

May 28, 2013
A study conducted by a 14-year-old student finds that the iPad 2 interferes with implantable cardioverter defibrillators.

Poor Diet Negatively Impacts Sleep Patterns in Middle-School Children

May 23, 2013
Among children, a link found between diet and sleep may be the key to promoting better heart health as adults.

Smokeless Tobacco Trends in Adolescents

May 16, 2013
Smokeless tobacco use remains unchanged between 2000 and 2011 among middle and high school students.

Pets May Boost Heart Health

May 15, 2013
After a comprehensive review of existing research, experts acknowledge an association between pet ownership and reduced cardiovascular risk.

Physical Activity Important for Children and Adults with Congenital Heart Disease

May 13, 2013
Individuals with congenital heart disease are encouraged to get active to promote better health later in life.

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