Congenital Heart Defects

1:53 pm CDT June 10, 2008
What is a congenital heart defect? Congenital means it is present at birth. Heart defects begin in the early stages of pregnancy when the baby's heart is forming. ************************* What does CHD stand for? It's the abbreviation for congenital heart defect. ************************* How many babies are born with CHD? Approximately 40,000 babies are born each year in the United States with a CHD. That equates to 1 out of 125 babies born with a heart defect. ************************* It is the #1 birth defect with more occurrences than Spina Bifida, Down syndrome or hearing loss yet many are not aware of this condition. ************************* What is the number one birth defect? Congenital heart defects. ************************* How many kinds of CHD are there? There are approximately 35 different types of congenital heart defects. ************************* How are congenital heart defects treated? Today, most heart defects can be corrected or helped with surgery, medicine, or devices, such as artificial valves and pacemakers. In the last 25 years, advances in treatment of heart defects have enabled half a million U.S. children with significant heart defects to survive into adulthood. ************************* Is there a prenatal test for CHD? An echocardiagram can accurately detect many heart defects. This test needs to be performed by a specialized doctor and not an obstetrician. Some heart defects can be detected through routine ultrasound. This information is from ****************************************************** ******************************************************* What are single ventricle defects? Normally, the heart has a right and left ventricle that serve as the heart's pumping chambers. The right ventricle normally pumps blue blood (without oxygen) out of the heart through the pulmonary artery to the lungs for oxygen and the left ventricle normally pumps red blood (with oxygen) through the aorta out of the heart to the body. ************************************************** Single ventricle defects is an umbrella term used to describe several very different complex congenital (present at birth) heart defects that share the same problem: the heart has only one functional ventricle. ************************************************** The following congenital heart defects are considered single ventricle defects * Tricuspid atresia: A defect that occurs when there is abnormal development of the tricuspid valve, which prevents blood from passing from the right atrium to the right ventricle as it should. * Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: In this syndrome, most of the structures on the left side of the heart, including he left ventricle that pumps blood out of the body, are small and underdeveloped. * Single Left Ventricle: This occurs when the heart's right ventricle is rudimentary and doesn't perform its job of pumping blood to the lungs. Both atria connect to the single ventricle either through a single valve (this is called a common-inlet ventricle) or separate valves (called double-inlet ventricle). Sometimes it is the left ventricle that is underdeveloped and there is a single right ventricle, but this is rare. * Mitral valve atresia: The mitral valve separates the left atrium from the left ventricle. When there is mitral valve atresia, the mitral valve does not develop properly and blood from the left atrium does not flow to the left ventricle. When this occurs the left ventricle becomes small and underdeveloped. * Double outlet right ventricle. Normally, a ventricle has just one outlet. For the left ventricle, it is the aorta. For the right ventricle it is the pulmonary artery that leads to the lungs. In this defect the right ventricle has an outlet to both the aorta and the pulmonary artery. There are usually other heart defects present. ************************************************** Why are single ventricle defects a concern? Single ventricle heart defects can cause children to become cyanotic (blue) since a mixture of oxygen-poor (blue) and oxygen-rich (red) blood vessels leaves the heart and goes to the body. Just how much oxygen or how little oxygen depends on a number of factors. Some children will only be mildly cyanotic, while others will not have enough oxygen in the blood to meet the body's needs. ************************************************** What are the treatments for single ventricle defects? The treatments for single ventricle vary by individual depending mostly on the amount of mixing of blood, and how much blood is being pumped through the lungs. This varies greatly. Babies with too much blood flow to the lungs sometimes receive a pulmonary artery band to restrict blood flow to the lungs. Babies with too little blood flow to the lungs (blue babies) may have a shunt (surgical connection between an artery from the aorta to the pulmonary artery) to increase blood flow to the lungs. Other procedures may accompany these treatments, depending on the anatomy. Common to all, however, is that these procedures are temporary in that they stabilize the circulation. Additional procedures are usually necessary as the child grows. ************************************************************ ************************************************** from

A pair of wool longies recycled from a sweater bought in western MA.

Jasper's dad built this chair when he was in school.

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