Congenital Heart Disease: The Causes
The causes of congenital heart disease in the majority of cases are unknown and the disease is considered to be caused by a new and random genetic mutation. A very small percentage may be related to hereditary factors. When there is already an affected individual in the family (eg a parent, sibling), the possibility of recurremnce within the same family increases from 1% stated in the general population to 3%. It is recommended in these cases to perform prenatal cardiac screening in every new pregnancy in specialized centers. The fetal echocardiogram is performed by specialist paediatric cardiologists.
Rare causes of congenital heart disease are related to infections during pregnancy, drugs or toxic substances (alcohol, drugs), particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy.