Congenital heart defects refer to a range of defects of the structures of the heart. Congenital heart defects can affect the walls, arteries, valves, and veins of the heart, disrupting the normal flow of blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defects, with an approximate incidence rate of 1 in 100 babies.
1 in 4 babies diagnosed with a congenital heart defect have what is considered a critical congenital heart defect, which requires immediate treatment. Atrial septal defects (ASD), hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), tetralogy of Fallot, and ventricular septal defects are all examples of congenital heart defects. Not all congenital heart defects are fatal, but these defects are often associated with fatal diagnoses.