What is congenital heart disease?
Congenital Heart Disease – A Treatable Disease
Most of the congenital heart problems are treatable diseases. They include conditions whereby the heart was not formed properly during endometrial life (embryogenesis). In the majority of cases this is a result of unforeseeable circumstances and de novo genetic defects, therefore the parents or maternal habits during pregnancy do not seem to be responsible for the congenital heart defect in the majority of cases. Congenital heart disease also includes cardiac structures, such as the patent foramen ovale (PFO) and the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), that naturally exist during embryonic life and close within the first months of life. If these structures do not close and become clinically or hemodynamically significant, they will require longer term follow-up or appropriate management.
Congenital heart disease occurs in about 8-10 children per 1000 births. A significant percentage of these are of minor importance and have no significant symptoms and signs, whereas other congenital cardiac defects are so severe that the newborn suffers immediately after birth.
There are also cases of moderate severity, whereby the disease does not appear before adolescence or even adulthood. Adult patients with congenital heart disease tend to be referred and treated by pediatric and congenital cardiologists with specialist expertise and relevant experience.
The aim of this website is to provide information on congenital heart disease from fetal to adult life, and the various ways of diagnosing and treating them.
It is important to state that congenital heart disease is treatable in the majority of cases through modern methods of surgical and transcatheter interventions. After a period of rehabilitation, most children adults treated for congenital heart disease are able to partake in sports activities and lead a perfectly normal life.