Sunday, February 6, 2011

CHD Facts

February 7-14, 2011 is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. I've borrowed a wonderful idea from a fellow heart mom, and will be spotlighting a different CHD child on my blog each weekday starting tomorrow. These kids all have a connection to Chase in one way or another. All of them have had similar journeys... some with more or less bumps in the road. Please stay tuned this week for these encouraging and enlightening stories of other families who have been affected by CHDs. We covet your ongoing support and continual efforts to aid in raising awareness of CHDs.

Below you will find several interesting facts you may or may not already know about these life-threatening and life-altering defects.

  • Congenital heart defects (CHDs) occur when a baby's heart fails to form properly during early pregnancy. In most cases, the cause is unknown, although scientists feel both genetic and environmental factors play a role.Some environmental factors that increase the risk of CHDs include the mother’s use of cocaine, alcohol or certain medications while pregnant. Some maternal medical conditions – such as diabetes – may also increase risk.
  • CHDs are the most common birth defect – and the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths.
  • CHDs occur more often than Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome or hearing loss – and kill twice as many children as childhood cancer.
  • It is estimated that 40,000 babies with CHDs are born in the United States each year – that’s one in every 100 babies.
  • Although some babies will be diagnosed at birth, newborns are not routinely screened for CHDs – and pregnant women are not routinely tested for CHDs.
  • There are approximately 35 different types of congenital heart defects.
  • Some CHDs may be treated with surgery, medicine and/or devices, such as artificial valves and pacemakers. In the last 25 years, advances in the treatment of heart defects have enabled half a million U.S. children with serious CHDs to survive into adulthood.
  • Many cases of sudden cardiac death in young athletes are caused by undiagnosed CHDs and childhood-onset heart disease.
  • Early detection is critical to the successful treatment of CHDs. Some heart defects can be detected by a routine ultrasound – but the most effective prenatal test is an echocardiogram performed by a Pediatric Cardiologist.


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