Congenital heart defects (CHDs)
Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs) are conditions present at birth that affect the structure and function of the heart. CHDs occur in about 1 in every 110 births or nearly 1% of all births in the United States. They are the most common types of birth defects and account for nearly 30% of infant deaths due to birth defects. CHDs have different degrees of severity based on size, location, and presence of other conditions. They are multifactorial in origin, which implies possible interplay between genetic and environmental factors.
About 1 in every 4 babies born with a heart defect in the United States has a critical CHD (CCHDs). CCHDs, like hypoplastic left heart syndrome, pulmonary atresia, tetralogy of Fallot, total anomalous pulmonary venous return, transposition of the great arteries, tricuspid atresia, and truncus arteriosus, can possibly be identified using pulse oximetry screening, which is a test used to determine the amount of oxygen in the blood and pulse rate. Once identified, infants with a CCHD can receive appropriate medical care and treatment.
As medical care and treatment have advanced, infants with CHDs are living longer and healthier lives. Birth defects surveillance programs provide data that are important to understanding the health issues and needs across the lifespan and improving the lives of individuals living with these conditions.
*Birth defects image credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities