Congenital heart disease (also called congenital heart defect) refers to an abnormality in the structure of the heart that occurs while the fetus is developing in the uterus. The word “congenital” means the defect exists at birth. The most common type of birth defect, congenital heart defect may affect approximately one in 100 children. Symptoms may appear at birth, during childhood, or not until adulthood.
Physicians affiliated with the Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital provide care for infants and children with congenital heart disease.
We provide comprehensive care for all structural heart conditions. The most common congenital heart conditions are:
In the majority of people with congenital heart disease, the cause is unknown. There are some risk factors associated with an increased chance of having congenital heart disease:
Congenital heart defects may be diagnosed before birth, right after birth, during childhood or not until adulthood. It is possible to have a defect and no symptoms. Symptoms in adults may include:
Congenital heart disease is often first diagnosed when a doctor hears an abnormal heart sound or heart murmur (link) when listening to the heart during a physical exam.
Diagnostic tests may include:
Some mild heart defects do not require any treatment. Treatments, either medical, or surgical or noninvasive procedures include:
To prevent endocarditis (an infection of the heart), most adults with congenital heart disease should have a heart specialist monitor their condition throughout their lifetime.
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