CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE
HeartPoint is primarily designed for people interested in heart disease in adults. Since weve come on line however, its become apparent that there is also a great deal of interest in congenital heart disease, disorders that generally affect children. It is a vast topic, and one that is difficult to generalize about.
Congenital Heart Disease are defects present from birth and effect a little less than 1% of all children. The heart starts in the embryo as a simple pulsatile tube, and must twist and rotate, cavitate, form valves, etc. to form the complex four chambered organ there are ample opportunities for something to go wrong. It is not surprising that abnormalities can occur, perhaps it is only surprising they occur so infrequently. They may take the form of abnormal holes between the chambers of the heart, incorrect connections between chambers and vessels, valves which dont open properly, or others.
The causes are difficult to determine and probably different in each case.
- Abnormalities of the chromosomes which carry genetic information are associated with congenital heart disease. Persons with well described complex congenital abnormalities, such as Downs syndrome and many others, have an increased incidence of certain types of congenital heart disease.
- There is further evidence of a genetic contribution in that parents who have had one child with a congenital heart abnormality have an increased risk of their next children having some sort of congenital heart abnormality as well. The risk is increased from the 1 in a thousand range to 1 in twenty. (Remember, that means a 19 in 20 chance of having a child without the abnormality). The risk may be higher in occasional families with certain forms of congenital disease which are passed down frequently to children.
- Infections in the mother, particularly early in pregnancy, such as rubella ("German measles") are associated with congenital heart abnormalities in those children.
The therapy of these disorders is sometimes quite complex, and should be discussed with your physician.
The following is a brief atlas of some of the more common congenital heart conditions. The normal flow in the heart can be reviewed from the HeartPoint Gallery page regarding "The Heart"
ęCOPY;1997 HeartPoint Updated November 1997
For more about Congenital Disease,
also see these related subjects on HeartPoint:
| Congenital Heart Disease | Atrial Septal Defect | Coarctation of the Aorta | Ebstein's Anomaly | Patent Ductus | Tetralogy of Fallot |
| Transposition of the Great Vessels | Truncus Arteriosus | Ventricular Septal Defect |
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