What is Congenital Heart Disease?
In short, congenital heart disease is any malformation of the heart.This can be anything from a small hole in your heart to persistence of blood circulation as a fetus to children who are born with only one pumping chamber, instead of two.
It is important to note that the terms congenital heart disease and congenital heart defect are often used interchangeably. Dr. Thomas Young recalls a time when a child heard him use these terms and was perplexed. The child said, "I didn't know I had a disease. I just thought I had a heart defect." In many young kids mind, a disease can mean things like cancer or an infection you acquire.
Many times, our providers see children who were born with a heart disease, but sometimes heart diseases can be acquired over time as well. For instance, our doctors are seeing more and more pediatric patients with high blood pressure and other risk factors that could lead to heart disease. These symptoms can be caught and treated early so that they don't turn into heart problems as adults.