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Top 5 Factoids Parents Should Know About Having a Child with Congenital Heart Defect

This week, UF Health is raising awareness about congenital heart defect, or CHD, as part of National CHD Awareness Week. CHD is a heart defect that is present at birth, and can appear in multiple shapes and forms.

Fact #1: CHDs are the most common type of birth defect.

Affecting nearly one in 100 babies annually, the March of Dimes reports that CHD is the most common type of birth defect in the United States. However, through the knowledge and experience that physicians have acquired about the disease, doctors are now able to better treat CHD in multiple ways with medication, intervention and surgery.

Fact #2: Life expectancy for patients with CHD has increased.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, patients living with CHD are living longer and healthier lives. As a result of advancements in technology and research, patients with CHD also have a chance at living with a higher quality of life. According to a physician at the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, more than 90 percent of patients with CHD are surviving into adulthood, and the importance of care for adult congenital heart disease continues to grow.

Fact #3: Advanced imaging has made significant strides for patients with CHD.

Whereas in the past, physicians may have only been able to diagnose CHDs through invasive procedures, advanced imaging have now allowed for defects to be diagnosed through noninvasive procedures as well. With prenatal diagnosis by fetal echocardiography, 2-D and 3-D echo, as well as cardiac MRI and CT scan, physicians have a plethora of options to choose from when evaluating each patient. As a result, doctors are able to assess, either noninvasively or invasively, the next best step for each patient.

Fact #4: Having a child with CHD does not mean that all of your children will be born with CHD.

According to a physician at the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, if a parent has a child with CHD, the chance of another child being born with CHD is about 3 percent. With the advances in fetal echocardiography, also known as an ultrasound of a baby’s heart inside the womb, physicians are able to detect any significant cardiac abnormalities in the fetus.

Fact #5: Multidisciplinary care is critical to the treatment of your child.

Patients with CHD are best treated in a collaborative environment where the congenital cardiologists collaborate with the congenital cardiac surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologist and cardiac intensivist. At the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, our team provides multidisciplinary care through the interactions with surgeons, specialty physicians and nursing staff on every case. The physicians also collaborate closely with neonatologists as well as other pediatric sub-specialists such as hematologists and pulmonologists.

The UF Health Congenital Heart Center continues to be ranked one of the nation and region’s top hospitals for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report. Please consider making a gift to help further the growth of the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, as well as the expansion of research in pediatric cardiology.

About the author

Alisha Katz, APR
Marketing Manager

For the media

Media contact

Peyton Wesner
Communications Manager for UF Health External Communications (352) 273-9620