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Congenital Heart Defect Awareness

Congenital Heart Defects: The Facts

  • Congenital heart defects (CHD) occur in the early stages of pregnancy, when the heart is forming.
  • Congenital heart defects include abnormalities in the heart's structure, electrical system, and other abnormalities.
  • Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect, affecting
  • approximately 40,000 births in the United States each year.
  • Approximately one out of every 120 babies is born each year with some type of congenital heart defect.
  • Nearly one-third of birth defect-related deaths of infants are related to congenital heart defects.
  • Congenital heart defects are approximately 60 times more prevalent than childhood cancer.
  • Approximately 1.4 million children and adults in the United States are alive today with congenital heart defects.
  • Genetic or chromosomal abnormalities cause some heart defects. Other risk factors include maternal smoking (during pregnancy), maternal obesity, maternal diabetes, and maternal infections such as rubella.
  • Caring for children with CHD is a challenge and complex venture that causes emotional and financial stress for families and requires many hospital resources.
  • Children with CHD are often at lifelong risk for other medical problems, and, or cognitive and developmental complications.
  • Sources: March of Dimes, American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mended Little Heart
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