Congenital Heart Disease Directory
Congenital heart disease begins as a heart defect before birth. The defects may not produce symptoms until later in adulthood. Causes of congenital heart disease include Down syndrome, rubella, or smoking/using drugs during pregnancy. Types of defects include heart valve defects, defects in the heart atria or ventricles, or heart muscle abnormalities. Symptoms may be shortness of breath or limited ability to exercise. Treatments depend on which condition is present but may include medications or surgery. Follow the links below to find WebMD's comprehensive coverage about how congenital heart disease is caused, what it looks like, how to treat it, and much more.
Congenital Heart Defects: Exercise and Sports-Topic Overview
Children and adults with congenital heart defects can be active and get regular exercise. Most don't have exercise restrictions. But restrictions on the intensity or type of exercise might be needed depending on the type or severity of the defect.Being active helps keep your heart and body healthy. So even a person who has restrictions can still exercise within limits. Your doctor can help create a set of activities at a level that is safe and healthy for you or your child.1 Your doctor might also suggest target heart rate goals and limits, how long to exercise, and how often to exercise.2Restrictions on exerciseYour doctor can tell you if you or your child should limit activity or sports participation. Limits might be based on the severity and type of heart defect.3Most people with mild or repaired heart defects don't have exercise restrictions. They usually can participate in any type of sport or exercise.People who have a severe defect, a cyanotic defect, heart pumping problems, or
Congenital Heart Defects in Adults-Topic Overview
Adults with congenital heart defects can live long, full, and active lives. But they are different from adults with other heart problems like coronary artery disease. They typically have unique issues with things like health insurance, birth control, pregnancy, and employment.1, 2Health careAdults who have congenital heart defects need routine checkups. Be sure you have a primary care physician. You might also need to see your cardiologist regularly, such as once a year.EmploymentMost adults with congenital heart defects don't have limitations on what kind of job they can have. But before you start career planning, get an expert opinion from your doctor about your physical capabilities and risk for future heart problems. With this information, you can make realistic choices and get appropriate training.Some adults with congenital heart defects may be restricted from certain types of jobs because of the potential risks to others in the event that they aren't able to carry out their
Congenital Heart Defect Types-Topic Overview
There are many types of congenital heart defects. If the defect lowers the amount of oxygen in the body, it is called cyanotic. If the defect doesn't affect oxygen in the body, it is called acyanotic. What are cyanotic heart defects?Cyanotic heart defects are defects that allow oxygen-rich blood and oxygen-poor blood to mix.In cyanotic heart defects, less oxygen-rich blood reaches the tissues of the body. This results in the development of a bluish tint—cyanosis—to the skin, lips, and nail beds. Cyanotic heart defects include:Tetralogy of Fallot.Transposition of the great vessels.Pulmonary atresia.Total anomalous pulmonary venous return.Truncus arteriosus.Hypoplastic left heart syndrome.Tricuspid valve abnormalities.What are acyanotic heart defects?Congenital heart defects that don't normally interfere with the amount of oxygen or blood that reaches the tissues of the body are called acyanotic heart defects. A bluish tint of the skin isn't common in babies with acyanotic heart
Congenital Heart Defects: Prostaglandins and Prostaglandin Inhibitors-Topic Overview
Normally, a blood vessel needed only for fetal blood circulation (called the ductus arteriosus) closes off at birth. During fetal development, this blood vessel is kept open by a naturally occurring substance in the fetus's body called prostaglandin. At birth, fetal production of prostaglandin decreases and the ductus arteriosus closes. In some premature infants, this blood vessel does not close. This is a condition called a patent (open) ductus arteriosus. These premature infants are given a prostaglandin inhibitor, a medicine to stimulate the closure of this blood vessel.When an infant has certain other congenital heart defects, a medicine (a form of prostaglandin) is often given by vein to keep the ductus arteriosus open. Keeping this blood vessel open allows the blood to continue circulating until surgery or another procedure can be done to correct the related defect and allow normal blood flow.
Slideshows & Images
Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Heart Disease
A visual overview of heart disease, including symptoms to watch for, diagnostic tests, treatments, and prevention strategies.
The Heart (Human Anatomy): Picture, Definition, Location in the Body, and Heart Problems
WebMD's Heart Anatomy Page provides a detailed image of the heart and provides information on heart conditions, tests, and treatments.
The Aorta (Human Anatomy): Picture, Function, Location, and Conditions
WebMD's Aorta Anatomy Page provides a detailed image and definition of the aorta. Learn about its function and location as well as conditions that affect the aorta.