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Five facts to know about congenital heart disease

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Did you know that Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) are the most common type of birth defect, affecting nearly 40,000 births in the U.S. each year, or approximately 1 in 100 babies? And with advancements in diagnostic technologies, cardiac care and surgical treatment, CHDs are now being diagnosed sooner – sometimes even before a baby is born – and children born with a CHD are living longer, healthier lives.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure at this time for CHDs, and most individuals are living into adulthood. This highlights the importance of finding a care team that can expertly monitor and provide specialized care for these patients throughout their lives.

What causes congenital heart defects?

Most CHDs have no known cause. We do know that some heart problems tend to run in families, so there may be a genetic link in some cases. Sometimes medications the mother takes while pregnant, such as antiseizure medication, can lead to heart defects in a developing fetus. But most of the time, there’s no identified reason for a heart defect.

What are the most common symptoms of congenital heart defects? Common symptoms of CHDs include:

• heart murmur • rapid, fluttering, pounding heartbeats (heart palpitations) • abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) • bluish skin, lips and fingernails (blue baby, cyanosis) • cool, clammy skin • fast breathing • shortness of breath • fainting

Who treats congenital heart defects?

It’s important to find a specially-trained expert to treat a congenital heart defect as early as possible, when the condition is most treatable. Also, it’s imperative that adults with CHD have the appropriate type of ongoing cardiac care to manage any potential issues that may arise.

Experts like Immanuel Turner, MD, Medical Director of The Heart Center at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children are uniquely trained to diagnose, treat and manage long-term patients with complex CHDs.

Read more about CHDs by clicking below!

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