Congenital Heart Defects/Disease

Also known as: congenital abnormalities, congenital disorders

What are Birth Defects and Congenital Anomalies?

Any unusual physical feature or health problem that is present at the birth of a baby is known as a birth defect or a congenital anomaly. They can range from mild to severe. Some can even threaten a baby’s life and require immediate medical treatment.

What causes birth defects and congenital anomalies?
Birth defects may result from genetic or environmental factors. Sometimes the cause of birth defects is not known. In other instances, it’s the result of the trait being passed down from family members, or an unusual characteristic in a child’s genes. Environmental factors like smoking or drug use can also cause birth defects. Sometimes the defect is caused by a variety of factors.

What are the symptoms of birth defects and congenital anomalies?
The symptoms and severity of birth defects and congenital anomalies vary widely. Some, such as cleft lips, can be repaired with surgery. Others like Down syndrome and many others, cannot be cured.

What are birth defects and congenital anomalies care options?
Many birth defects, even severe heart defects, can be repaired with surgery shortly after birth. Supportive care is available for other defects that cannot be cured.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 6/12/2018 11:37:57 AM


Upcoming Events

Free EKG Screenings

The Heart Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital provides electrocardiogram (EKG) screenings to children and young adults in the community at no cost. The use of an EKG is critical to help diagnose asymptomatic heart defects that may not otherwise be detected in a routine physical exam. Learn more.

Weekly Support Programs

Brain Wellness: Kids Yoga

This program is provided by a certified yoga instructor. It offers children and teens the following benefits: managing stress through breathing, self-awareness, healthy movement and meditation. Yoga also promotes strength, flexibility, coordination and body awareness. Learn more.