What is congenital heart disease?
A congenital heart defect (CHD) is a type of heart problem a baby is born with. There are many types of CHDs and most have no known cause. They occur when the heart doesn’t form correctly during a baby’s development.
Examples of some common CHDs include:
- patent ductus arteriosus
- tetralogy of fallot
- transposition of the great vessels
- coarctation of the aorta
- hypoplastic left or right heart syndromes
- heart valve problems
Symptoms of CHD in children include:
- a bluish tint to the skin, fingernails and lips
- difficulty breathing
- frequent lung infections
- poor feeding or poor weight gain
- inability to exercise or play
To help diagnose CHD, your child’s doctor may order one or more of the following tests:
- echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound)
- electrocardiogram (EKG)
- cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- chest x-ray
- cardiac catheterization
Treatment is based on the type and severity of the child’s heart condition. Children with a mild heart defect may not need any treatment. Others may be treated with medications, minimally-invasive procedures or surgery.
Learn more about Pediatric Cardiology services at Boston Children’s Health Physicians.