Each year in February we take time to observe Congenital Heart Awareness Week, which lands on the 7th - 14th this year. This week is meant to promote awareness and education about congenital heart defects which are much more common than you may think. In this blog, we’re explaining 10 heart conditions in children to promote further awareness! 

What Are Congenital Heart Defects? 

Before we jump into the common conditions, let’s refresh our memories on exactly what congenital heart defects entail. In short, they’re abnormalities in the formation of the heart and they’re present at birth even if they aren’t detected until years down the road. These defects could be simple and fixed with one procedure, or they can be more complex and difficult to deal with. 

1. Ebstein’s Anomaly 

This defect affects the tricuspid valve, which is the valve right between the right atrium and right ventricle of the heart. In this case, it isn’t formed properly which causes blood to leak back through the valve and into the right atrium. 

2. Pulmonary Atresia 

This birth defect is when the valve that controls blood flow from the heart to the lungs doesn’t form at all. This makes it difficult for blood to flow to the lungs and pick up oxygen that’s necessary for the body. 

3. Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) 

An abnormal opening/hole forms in the heart between the lower ventricles. VSD causes oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood to mix. 

4. Tricuspid Atresia 

In this case, the valve that controls blood flow from the right upper chamber to the right lower chamber of the heart doesn’t form. In babies who are born with this defect, blood can’t flow correctly to the rest of the body. 

5. Coarctation of the Aorta 

This defect is when the aorta, or the large blood vessel that leads from the heart, is narrowed. While it sounds like a scary defect, many people have no symptoms, and it isn’t detected until adulthood. 

6. Atrioventricular Septal Defect (AVSD) 

Those with AVSD have holes between the left and right chambers along with improperly formed valves that control the blood flow between these two chambers. 

7. Tetralogy of Fallot 

In this heart condition, a variety of defects cause oxygen-poor blood to flow to the rest of the body. Because of this, children with Tetralogy of Fallot often have blueish skin since their blood doesn’t have enough oxygen. 

8. Pulmonary Valve Stenosis 

As the name suggests, this defect affects your pulmonary valve which is located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary arteries. In this case, the pulmonary valve narrows and slows down blood flow. 

9. Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 

In cases of Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the left side of the heart doesn’t form correctly while the baby develops during pregnancy. This defect is critical because a baby born with it needs surgery after birth. 

10. Truncus Arteriosus 

Truncus arteriosus is a heart disease in which a single blood vessel comes out of the right and left ventricles instead of the two normal vessels. 

Now that you know more about the basics of heart conditions in children, you can continue spreading awareness with us throughout Congenital Heart Awareness Week. Don’t forget, you can always contact us if you have further questions.