Congenital heart disease is characterized by abnormal structure and function of the heart, which is present at birth and results from prenatal insults. Congenital heart disease is among the most prevalent birth defects, affecting around 1% of births (about 40,000) per year in the USA.
A few congenital cardiac abnormalities may be minor and not be life-threatening. But severe malformations, on the other hand, can have life-threatening consequences. Infants having congenital heart disease can now live well into maturity due to improvement in detection and therapy.
Although no specific cause has been identified in most cases, several elements have been associated with it.
Congenital heart diseases are among the most frequent congenital defects, occurring in 1% of babies born in the US. They were found in around 2.4 million people in the US in 2010; 1 million were under 18 years old, while 1.4 million were older than 18 years. The condition affected women(1,260,000) slightly more than men(1,163,000).
Various kinds of cardiac defects can be found in a baby, either alone or in combination. The following are some of the more frequent defects:
Some mild defects can be asymptomatic till infancy, while others can present with severe symptoms at birth. These symptoms may include:
The doctor will inquire about the symptoms and the previous medical history to diagnose the disorder. He will examine the patient, emphasizing the heart examination using a stethoscope for hearing the heart sounds to determine congenital heart disease. The following tests can be used to detect or exclude congenital cardiac disease:
Congenital cardiac disease is most often completely cured in infancy. On the other hand, some cardiac defects may not be substantial enough to be repaired in childhood, but they would create issues later in life. Adults with congenital cardiac disease are treated differently depending on the severity of their condition. You could need to be watched or need medicine or surgery.
Minor heart defects may only necessitate periodic health checks with your specialist to help that your illness does not deteriorate. Inquire with your physician about how frequently you should be seen.
Medications that assist the heart to perform better can be used to cure some moderate congenital heart abnormalities. Several classes of medicines have been used depending on the type of the condition and the symptoms needed to be controlled, like anticoagulants (Heparin, Warfarin) are used to avoid blood clots or Beta Blockers (Atenolol, Propranolol), and Calcium Channel Blockers (Amlodipine, Diltiazem ) are used to manage an abnormal heart rhythm.
Adults with congenital heart disease can undergo a variety of surgical interventions;
Implantable Devices. A pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) that helps regulate the pulse rate or rectifies life-threatening unusual heartbeats may alleviate some of the problems with congenital heart defects.
Catheterization. It is a procedure that can fix some congenital heart abnormalities. These procedures make it possible to heal the heart without requiring open-heart surgery. Instead, the physician places a small tube into a thigh vein or artery and uses X-ray pictures to direct it to the heart. The doctor inserts tiny instruments through the tube to correct the problem once it is in place.
Open-Heart Surgery: Your doctor may suggest open-heart surgery if catheter methods fail to correct the heart problem.
Heart Transplant: A heart transplant may be a possibility when a major cardiac defect cannot be fixed.
The severity of the defect and its management all play a role in the survival of babies with heart defects. Approximately 97 percent of newborns delivered with a non-critical CHD will live up to the age of one year, and 95% will live up to 18 years of age.
The best way to prevent a cardiac defect in the child is to be very careful during pregnancy and know about the things that can be harmful to you and your baby.
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 15, 2023.
Congenital heart disease - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Congenital Heart Disease | Congenital Heart Defects | MedlinePlus