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Congenital Heart Defect Types

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.

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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 defects, although it may occur. If a bluish tint occurs, it often is during activities when the baby needs more oxygen, such as when crying and feeding.

Acyanotic congenital heart defects include:

  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD).
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD).
  • Atrioventricular septal defect.
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis.
  • Aortic valve stenosis.
  • Coarctation of the aorta.

What are not considered defects?

A small hole in the heart, called a patent foramen ovale, is not considered a heart defect. It happens in many healthy people. But typically it doesn't need treatment.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Larry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology
Last Revised October 11, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 11, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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