Congenital heart defects affect 1 in every 100 newborn babies in the UK, making CHD the Number One birth defect. A staggering 12-15 babies are born each day with CHD. A small number of babies are born with complex congenital heart defects that require special medical care soon after birth.
A baby’s heart begins to develop shortly after conception. During development, structural defects can occur, affecting the walls and valves of the heart, and the arteries and veins that surround it. These defects can disrupt the normal flow of blood through the heart, causing it to slow down, go in the wrong direction or to the wrong place, or be blocked completely.
Treatment includes medicines, surgery and even heart transplants, and depends upon the type and severity of the defect and the child’s age, size and general health. Today, many children born with complex heart defects go on to lead full and happy lives.