Congenital Heart Defects

CHDs are present at birth and can affect the structure of a baby’s heart and the way it works. They can affect how blood flows through the heart and out to the rest of the body. CHDs can vary from mild (such as a small hole in the heart) to severe (such as missing or poorly formed parts of the heart). Most CHDs cause a heart murmur that calls for further evaluation by a cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram) to confirm the diagnosis.

The echocardiography uses sound waves (ultrasound) to create images of the heart and to evaluate the speed and direction of blood flow, providing useful information about the heart’s anatomy and function. Echocardiography is the most common test used in children to diagnose or rule out heart disease and also to follow children who have already been diagnosed with a heart problem. This test can be performed on children of all ages and sizes including fetuses and newborns.

It can be very frightening for parents to learn that their child has a heart murmur, but most of them represent benign conditions that do not require further treatment. If your child has been diagnosed with a heart murmur, he can be reviewed at short notice to have an echocardiogram.