Congenital heart disease (CHD) includes a broad range of cardiac problems that begin when a fetus is developing. CHD is the most common type of birth defect, affecting approximately one in 100 children.
There are two main types of CHD:
- Cyanotic, in which the baby’s skin turns blue due to lack of oxygen
The cause of CHD often is not known. However, genetics, infections (such as rubella) and exposure to certain substances, such as alcohol, may play a part.
Congenital heart disease sometimes is diagnosed before birth, but often it is not found until after birth – sometimes even until adulthood. When it is found before birth, it often is during a routine prenatal ultrasound. Other tests, including fetal echocardiogram, may be needed if CHD is suspected.
Treatment depends on the type of CHD and may include fetal surgery or surgery shortly after birth. Other types may heal over time, or require medication or surgery later in life