Congenital heart defects - are problems with the heart's structure (Structural Heart Diseases) that are present at birth. Congenital heart defects change the normal flow of blood through the heart.
There are many types of congenital heart defects. They range from simple defects with no symptoms to complex defects and no need treatment, with severe, life-threatening symptoms. These defects can involve:
- Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
- Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)
Many of these conditions have negative effects on a person's quality of life, and some, when left untreated, can cause heart failure and may lead to death. PFO could be one of the reasons for a stroke in a young age, particularly in women.
Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect. They affect 8 of every 1000 newborns. Complex congenital heart defects are require special medical care soon after birth. Over the past few decades, the diagnosis and treatment of these complex defects has greatly improved. As a result, almost all children who have complex heart defects survive to adulthood and can live active, productive lives. In some cases, heart conditions can be controlled with medication that can lessen symptoms. When medication therapy is not enough, a number of advanced minimally invasive or open surgical options may be used to treat or correct heart disease conditions. Cardiovascular specialists work to determine the right procedure for each individual patient for the best outcomes possible.