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Deaths From Heart Birth Defects Decline

Study Shows 24% Drop in Deaths From Heart Defects From 1999 to 2006

Second Opinion continued...

''We don't know a lot about what causes congenital heart disease," Gilboa tells WebMD.

Even so, a woman who is planning a pregnancy can take measures to reduce the risk of having a child with such a defect, she says.

Obesity and diabetes both increase the risk of having a child with a congenital heart defect, Gilboa says. "Smoking during the first trimester is another risk factor for having a child with a congenital heart defect."

For adults living with a congenital heart defect, both Gilboa and Martin agree, it's crucial for them to find a good adult cardiologist with experience treating congenital heart disease.

Currently, Martin says, the number of cardiologists who specialize in the care of adults with congenital heart disease is not large. One U.S. organization that can provide a listing of such cardiologists is the Adult Congenital Heart Association, he says.

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