Congenital Heart Disease: The Importance of Lifelong Care
Congenital heart diseases (CHD) are heart defects present at birth.
Some heart defects include:
- Hole in heart
- Defective vessels
- Leaky valves
- Missing heart chambers
Children born with CHD have a high survivability rate.
- 40,000 children with CHD born annually (1% of all births)
- 85% survive to adulthood
- 1.4 million adults have CHD (2x as many adults are living with CHD than children)
Many with CHD may not realize they need continued care as adults.
- Childhood treatments are not a cure
- 50% stop treatment by age 13
- 80% don't get recommended adult care
Why does CHD require lifelong, specialized care?
- May be outgrown
- Can lose effectiveness
- Can trigger issues later as an adult
CHD not treated as a child
- May not have been severe enough to treat but may worsen later in life
- May never have been diagnosed
CHD symptoms may appear later in life
- Sudden loss of consciousness
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Shortness of breath
A specialist for adults with CHD can advise on unique care needs.
- Heart rhythm
- Heart failure
- Medical intervention, surgery or transplant
- Mental health
- Liver/ Kidney disease
Sources: MayoClinic.org; Cdc.gov; Medscape.org; Acc.org; Achaheart.org; Aacn.org.