Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital Heart Defects (CHD)

Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) are the most common congenital disorders in newborns. Almost 1:100 neonates born with CHD, are structural malformations of the heart or main blood vessels that occur before birth. Defects may range from simple (or minor) to complex (or major).

These defects can be a hole in the heart known as a septal defect, for example, Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), the most common of all and narrowed or tight valves. Complex CHD may lead to significant morbidity and mortality, particularly, if not recognised or diagnosed early.

Many CHD have few or no symptoms. However, serious CHD are usually identified during pregnancy or soon after birth. Minor defects may not be diagnosed in infancy or in childhood due to a lack of symptoms. Although heart murmur is an early sign, they may go unnoticed. It is also possible for a serious and life threatening CHD to exist without any appreciable murmur.

The use of Echocardiography or heart ultrasound, a noninvasive, fast and accurate test that can be done at bedside, has revolutionised the diagnosis of CHD.