Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week – February 7-14, 2019

Feb. 7, 2019

The week of February 7-14, 2019 has been designated as Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week to raise awareness about one of the most common birth defects in the United States.  CHD affects approximately 1 in every 110 babies each year which means an estimated 40,000 babies are impacted by the disease annually.

Many times surgery is not a treatment option for congenital heart disease, which means it can be a lifelong condition for some, requiring health care intervention for one’s entire life.  Of the 40,000 babies diagnosed with CHD each year, 25% require heart surgery or other care in order to survive.

So what exactly is CHD?

CHD is a heart defect which can impact how blood flows in and out of the heart to other parts of the body.  As published on the CDC’s website, there are many types of CHDs some of which are listed below. The CDC has marked the most critical forms of CHD with an asterisk. 

To learn more about CHDs visit the CDC or American Heart Association websites.  

What are the Signs and Symptoms for CHD?

Many times there are no signs and symptoms present, however, babies can experience the following in some situations:

  • Bluish colored nails or lips
  • Difficult or fast breathing
  • Sleepiness
  • Tiredness while eating

What causes CHD?

According to the CDC, there is no definite cause but it is believed the following things can contribute to the development of CHDs in babies:

  • Gene/chromosome related defects
  • The environment
  • Mother’s diet during pregnancy
  • Mother’s health conditions during pregnancy (i.e. diabetes, obesity, etc)
  • Mother’s medication use during pregnancy
  • Smoking during pregnancy

What Treatment Options are there for CHD?

Depending on the type of CHD a baby is diagnosed with treatment can range anywhere from observation to heart transplant.  

  • Observation
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Surgery
  • Heart Transplant

Some babies may require multiple procedures throughout their lifetime.  

For additional information or resources about CHD, visit the following websites:

Mended Hearts
American Heart Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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