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Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)


Updated January 25, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: An anomaly in the heart from birth. The heart forms in the early parts of pregnancy, meaning that before you know you are pregnant and in the very first weeks, toxins, chemicals and other exposures can cause the heart to form incorrectly or with problems.

About 1 in 125 births is affected by congenital heart disease. Not all cases of CHD are detected at birth; in fact, they may not be diagnosed until much later in childhood or even into adulthood.

Examples of congenital heart disease include: patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), ventricular septal defects (VSD), anomalies of the heart valve, Tetralogy of Fallot, transposition of the great arteries, hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
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