Congenital heart disease, often called congenital heart defects, describes any heart defects that are present at birth. This may affect the heart or blood vessels near the heart which do not develop normally prior to birth. Sometimes defects are detected during development of the foetus prior to birth, and sometimes they are not noted until after the birth of a baby.

Most heart defects either obstruct blood flow in the heart or vessels near it or cause blood flow through the heart in an abnormal pattern; e.g. where there is a hole is the chamber wall. Other defects affecting heart rhythm and heart valves can also occur.

Again, symptoms of congenital heart disease varies greatly dependent on the severity of the defect. Indeed, sometimes, defects can go undetected throughout life where no intervention is required, and in other cases, defects can be severe requiring surgery. Sadly some children with severe congenital heart disease do not survive.

Causes of Congenital Heart Disease

Some heart defects in babies are due to genetic predisposition or chromosonal abnormalities. In other cases, defects can be due to environmental factors such as maternal infections (such as rubella) or drugs (such as alcohol or Thalidomide) etc.