The word "congenital" means existing at birth. Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the single most common birth defect known to man. These problems can involve the interior walls of the heart, the valves of the heart and/or the arteries and veins that carry blood to and from the heart. While some congenital heart defects are minor and have no noticeable symptoms, there are others which have very severe symptoms and are considered life-threatening.
In the United States, roughly 1 in every 125 babies - or 35,000 each year - is born with a congenital heart defect (National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute). Congenital heart defects are the leading cause of birth-defect related deaths (American Heart Association Council) in the first year of life.
Nearly twice as many children die each year from congenital heart defects compared with all forms of childhood cancer combined. However, funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than for congenital heart defects (Texas Children's Hospital).
If you have a child with a congenital heart defect, please refer to this web booklet:
For more information on congenital heart defects, its symptoms, treatments and impact, please refer to these comprehensive and expert resources: