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Common Heart Defects

​Congenital heart defects are structural problems arising from abnormal formation of the heart or major blood vessels. At least 1% of all live-born infants have a heart defect. The cause of a heart defect is most often unknown. Some defects may be small and may cause your child few problems; others are life-threatening.

Types of Congenital Heart Defects

There are 18 types of congenital heart defects recognized and ​many additional anatomic variations. The more common heart defects are listed below:​
  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
  • Atrioventricular Canal Defect
  • Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA)
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
  • Pulmonary Atresia
  • Pulmonary Stenosis (PS)
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC)
  • Transposition of the Great Arteries
  • Tricuspid Atresia
  • Truncus Arteriosus
  • Ventricular Septal Defect

Outlook for Children Born with a Heart Defect

Even if your baby is born with a heart defect, it is very likely nowadays that he or she can live a normal adult life and overcome the problem. The many advances in the diagnosis and treatment have made it possible to correct defects via surgery and heart catheterization. Even the most difficult cases have hope now.

The ​​diagnosis and treatment for other heart defects will continue to improve ​with new advancements and ​research. ​Talk with your child's pediatric heart surgeon if you have specific questions about your child's condition, treatment options, and expected outcomes. 

Additional Information

Last Updated
Newborn Intensive Care: What Every Parent Needs to Know, 3rd Edition (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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