Lists

5 Types of Congenital Heart Defects

February is Heart Health Awareness Month!

ADVANCE has created a list of five of the more common types of congenital heart defects and the long-term health risks for each. In our list, we include:

  • ventricular septal defect,
  • atrial septal defect,
  • pulmonary atresia,
  • hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and
  • tetralogy of fallot.

Congenital heart defects are defects within the heart's structure that are present at birth. These defects often involve the interior walls of the heart, the valves inside the heart and the arteries and veins carrying blood to the heart or the body. Congenital heart defects change the normal flow of blood through the body.

Parents with children diagnosed with congenital heart defects will find this information helpful when first learning about the different types of CHD that can occur.

Nurses and NPs can share this list with parents to help teach and prepare patients with a congenital heart defects. This list of five of the more common types of congenital heart defects and the long-term health risks for each will be a starting point for patient education. For an extensive list, visit http://www.congenitalheartdefects.com/.



 

1. Ventricular Septal Defect

Where this defect occurs: A hole forms in the wall between the two ventricles or lower chambers of the heart.

What it does: Blood flows from the left ventricle through the ventricular septal defect and into the right ventricle, which leads to the lungs. This extra blood flow will cause the heart and lungs to work harder.

Risks: Heart failure, high blood pressure in the lungs, arrhythmia or stroke

 

2. Atrial Septal Defect

Where this defect occurs: A hole forms in the wall between the two atria or upper chambers of the heart.

What it does: A hole in the atrium will increase blood flow through the lungs, which can damage the blood vessels in the lungs.

Risks: High blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat or stroke

 

3. Pulmonary Atresia

Where this defect occurs: The pulmonary valve does not form at all.

What it does: Without the pulmonary valve forming, blood cannot flow from the right ventricle and into the lungs through the pulmonary artery. This defect often requires surgery.

Risks: Abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure or the narrowing of the pulmonary artery


 

4. Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

Where this defect occurs: The left side of the heart does not form correctly.

What it does: The left side of the heart is responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood to the body. With hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the right side of the heart is forced to work twice as hard to provide oxygen-rich blood to the body.

Risks: Heart murmur, breathing problems or weak pulse 

 

5. Tetralogy of Fallot

Where this defect occurs: When a ventricular septal defect, an obstruction from the heart to the lungs, the aorta  lies over the hole in the lower chambers and the muscle surrounding the lower right chamber becomes overly thickened, a tetralogy of fallot is diagnosed.

What it does: Normal blood flow is obstructed, causing a weaker flow and less blood to pump throughout the body.

Risks: Blue-tinted skin, arrhythmia or dizziness/fainting


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