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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:

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:

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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    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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