What is the most common congenital heart defect in infants?

Congenital heart defects are much more common than you might think. In fact, congenital heart defects impact 1 in 100 babies per year that are born in the U.S. alone. They can range from severe to mild symptoms in infants from the time they are born and sometimes require surgery or other serious procedures. Just over 7 thousand babies out of 40 thousand suffer from critical symptoms within their first year of life.

The good news is this: there are many medical improvements that help detect and treat this disease. Learning more about the symptoms and types of congenital heart defects can even help parents and family members be more knowledgeable and prepared. CHD awareness is critical in helping detect and improve the symptoms of this disease. Learn more about the most common congenital heart defect in infants below.

Types of Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects range in severity and symptoms and there are four main types.

Cyanotic CHD

Cyanosis occurs when deoxygenated blood transfers into the body. This causes a side effect that makes a newborn child appear blue. Cyanotic CHD often requires surgery to correct heart function and help repair other defects to the heart, lungs, and arteries.

Acyanotic or less acute CHD

Like cyanotic CHD, the acyanotic type also includes many defects that affect the overall health of a child. However, acyanotic CHD is considered to have less acute symptoms that require minor interventions. Surgery is often not necessary when it comes to this type of congenital heart defect.

Ductal dependent CHD

Patent ductus arteriosus happens when the ductus arteriosus hole located in the heart doesn’t close properly. Normally, this small duct closes on its own within the first few days of birth. When it doesn’t close, however, severe symptoms can occur such as cardiovascular arrest. Through the help of surgery and medicine, this congenital heart defect can be remedied.

Critical CHD

Around a quarter of children born with CHD are considered critical cases. These cases of congenital heart defects require surgery, prescription medicine, and other procedures within the first year of life. Although they are initially severe and require complex solutions, critical cases of CHD are treatable.

Most Common CHD

One of the major blood vessels in the body, the aortic valve transports blood rich in oxygen through the body. The opening and closing of the aortic valve also helps blood flow back and forth from the aorta and heart. When this valve is defected, it impairs this important flow. This is called a bicuspid aortic valve, or BAV, and is one of the most common congenital heart defects.

Since symptoms range from barely noticeable to severe, it can be difficult to tell whether a person even has BAV. In fact, many people may not even know they suffer from BAV, as it affects nearly two percent of the population. Some newborns may require surgery immediately for severe symptoms related to this heart defect. Others may go their whole lives with little to no symptoms. This goes to show that congenital heart defects are extremely common. Some require extensive care and procedures, while others can exist without you even knowing. The best way to stay educated about these defects is through CHD Awareness. Through correct detection and treatment, children can live a long and fulfilling life.

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