Congenital heart defects are problems with the heart that you are born with. They are the most common kind of birth defect, and there are various different types of CHD. Most of these types affect the walls, valves, or blood vessels of the heart. In some cases, they are serious and require different surgeries and treatments.
Hole in the Heart (Septal Defect)
Also known as a septal defect, this is where you are born with a hole in the heart wall. It is what separates the left and right sides of your heart. Unfortunately, the hole causes blood from the two sides to come in contact with one another.
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
An ASD is a hole in the wall that is between the upper chambers of your heart. This is the right and left atria. If you have a hole here, it allows blood to mix from the different atriums. Although some ASDs close without help, other cases require your doctor to repair the ASD with open-heart surgery. This is often done with a minimally invasive catheter procedure by inserting a small tube, or catheter, in your blood vessel. This will then be sent to your heart. The hole will then be covered.
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
Having a VSD means that you have a hole in the part of your septum. This separates your heart’s lower chambers or ventricles. When you have VSD the blood goes back into your lungs rather than into your body. This is obviously a problem, but sometimes it can close on its own. If it gets larger you may need surgery.
Complete Atrioventricular Canal Defect (CAVC)
Known as the most serious septal defect. CAVC is when you have a hole in your heart that affects all four chambers. It prevents oxygen-rich blood from going to the right places in your body and must be repaired by your doctor. Typically this is done with patches and usually needs more than one surgery to do so.
Valves control the flow of blood through your heart. There can be small defects that involve the valves such as
Stenosis, when your valves become narrow or stiff. In other situations, they won’t open. When it comes to regurgitation, the valves don’t close tightly. This allows blood to leak back into them. Finally, there is atresia. This happens when your valve is not formed right or doesn’t have enough of an opening. It can lead to worse problems.
Tetralogy of Fallot
If you have septal defects, you can also have other problems. One of them is the tetralogy of Fallot. This is a combo of four different defects including:
- Large ventricular septal defect (VSD)
- The thickened wall around your right ventricle
- Aorta being located above the hole in your ventricular wall
- Stiff pulmonary valve preventing blood from flowing
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