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|Dr. Dennis W. Kim, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, describes the efforts of pediatric cardiologists and developments in the field that help children with congenital heart disease lead normal lives.
Congenital heart disease is a birth defect of the heart. This means that a child is born with a defect in the heart. It happens when something in the heart or the connecting blood vessels doesn’t form properly as the fetus is growing and developing during pregnancy. Amazingly, the heart becomes developed very early in pregnancy—by the end of the second month of pregnancy! Increasingly, heart defects can be diagnosed early in pregnancy by routine ultrasound tests, around the fourth or fifth month.
The symptoms of the disease, how it progresses or develops over time and the recommended treatment are specific to the type of congenital heart disease. But some of the most common problems are abnormal openings in the walls of the heart, irregular heart rhythm and deterioration of the heart muscle, which can lead to heart failure.
Click here for more information on specific types of congenital heart disease along with symptoms, progression of the disease and treatment.