Home Genetic disorders Congenital heart disease: causes, symptoms and treatment

Congenital heart disease: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

According to the World Health Organization, congenital anomalies are those defects, disorders, or malformations that a person suffers from birth. They can be structural or functional abnormalities detected during pregnancy, at delivery, or a certain point in life. The most common congenital severe anomalies are neural tube malformation, Down syndrome, and cardiac malformations. We dedicate this work by FastlyHealto the latter.

Congenital heart disease is used to describe many conditions that affect the heart from birth. Although children born with heart problems do not usually have other defects, this pathology can be caused by genetic or chromosomal syndromes. Below you can learn everything about congenital heart disease: causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Types of congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease can encompass many problems that affect a newborn’s heart. It is considered that there are more than 50 types. For this reason, the conditions that are regarded as congenital heart disease are classified as follows:

Cyanotic congenital heart disease: cardiac complications in which there is a lack of oxygen that gives the newborn a purple or bluish appearance at birth. The most common hereditary heart diseases of this type are:

  • Ebstein’s anomaly.
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Tricuspid atresia.
  • Hypoplastic left heart.
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot.
  • Arterial trunk.
  • Transposition of the great vessels.

Non-cyanotic congenital heart diseases those present cardiac complications, but there is no interruption of the oxygen supply. The most commons are:

  • Aortic stenosis.
  • Interatrial communication.
  • Coarctation of the aorta.
  • Persistent arterial duct.
  • Pulmonary stenosis.
  • Ventricular communication.
  • Atrioventricular canal.

Causes of congenital heart disease

Although a specific cause for congenital heart disease has not been defined, some factors have been identified that can increase the risk of developing these diseases:


Although congenital heart diseases are usually the only defect with which a newborn is born, they can be part of some genetic or chromosomal syndromes such as Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome, Trisomy 13, Turner syndrome, and Noonan syndrome.

Nutritional status of the mother

The WHO states that overweight, iodine and folate deficiencies, and diseases such as diabetes are related to the appearance of congenital anomalies in the newborn. For example, excess vitamin A during pregnancy can cause abnormal fetal development.

Infections and toxic substances

Some medicines such as retinoic acid, chemical substances, alcoholic beverages, and even diseases such as rubella can affect the development of congenital heart disease.

Symptoms of congenital heart disease

The symptoms of congenital heart disease depend on the condition that causes it. Some conditions can cause symptoms at the time of birth. Others, on the contrary, can present their first signs up to two weeks after delivery.

Likewise, there are cases in which congenital heart disease does not cause any problems and becomes a diagnosis made many years after birth, as is the case of coarctation of the aorta. Other complications may never represent a significant health problem throughout the newborn’s life.

Some of the less dangerous congenital heart diseases are :

  • Small VSD.
  • Interatrial communication.
  • Persistent arterial duct.

Treatment of congenital heart disease

Many congenital heart diseases can be treated with surgery at birth. In contrast, others can be controlled with the administration of drugs that stimulate the health of the heart and the proper functioning of this muscle. However, the treatment of congenital heart disease will depend on the condition that causes it.

Even some pathologies can heal themselves over time as the newborn grows and develops. Others, on the contrary, will need a follow-up throughout the person’s life to control the condition and guarantee the correct functioning of the cardiovascular system.

Prevent congenital heart disease

Although the specific cause of these conditions is unknown, some recommendations are essential to prevent congenital heart disease. Some of these are:

  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.
  • Do not consume any illicit drugs during pregnancy.
  • Consult with your doctor before consuming any medication.
  • Avoid being in contact with anyone who has rubella and if you have not been vaccinated before pregnancy, do so immediately at the time of delivery.
  • Keep blood sugar levels under control in cases where the mother has diabetes.
  • If there are cases of congenital heart disease in the family, it is advisable to ask the doctor to perform genetic tests.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Congenital Heart Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment, we recommend that you enter our Genetic Disorders category.

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