Congenital heart disease refers to structural heart problems or abnormalities that have been present since birth.
These problems usually have no known cause. In some cases, they may be passed from a parent to a child (inherited). They also may occur in the developing baby (fetus) of a person who has an infection or who is exposed to radiation or other toxic substances during pregnancy.
Having congenital heart disease may raise the risk for complications, such as heart failure, endocarditis, atrial fibrillation, and heart valve problems.
Some types of congenital heart disease are diagnosed before or shortly after birth. Others may not be found for years. Some problems are severe enough to cause death. Some resolve on their own and may not need any treatment. Babies with large or complex problems usually require surgery. Most children with congenital heart disease grow up and live healthy lives. They need lifelong monitoring of their condition.
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