Congenital Heart Defects

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What is a congenital heart defect?

A congenital heart defect is a structural problem of the heart that develops during pregnancy. About 1 out of 100 babies are born with a congenital heart defect.

There are many types of congenital heart defects, ranging from simple to complex. Most are detected and treated early in infancy, including:

What are the symptoms of a congenital heart defect?

Symptoms of congenital heart defects in infants and children include:

  • cyanosis (a bluish tint to the skin, fingernails and lips)
  • respiratory distress
  • poor feeding
  • poor weight gain
  • recurrent lung infections
  • inability to exercise or play actively

What are the causes of a congenital heart defect?

In most cases, congenital heart defects have no known cause. However, some known associations include:

If you have a congenital heart defect, we recommend you speak with a genetic counselor or genetic specialist before becoming pregnant.

How we care for congenital heart defects

The Boston Children's Hospital Heart Center specializes in treating the entire spectrum of congenital heart defects before and after birth through adulthood. Search our condition pages to learn more about how we treat specific congenital heart defects.

Our areas of innovation for congenital heart defects

The first operation to correct a congenital heart defect was performed in 1938 by Boston Children’s Hospital surgeon, Robert Gross, MD. Today, we perform more than 1,200 cardiac surgeries each year and receive referral from all over the world to repair the most challenging heart problems.

Boston Children’s is so much more than a hospital—it’s a community of researchers, clinicians, administrators, support staff, innovators, teachers, patients and families, all working together to make the impossible possible. ”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337