For many parents, hearing the heartbeat of their unborn child becomes their first, loving bond to that child. It’s no wonder, then, that discovering that their child has a heart defect, whether diagnosed in the womb, shortly after birth or during childhood, can be devastating.

About Congenital Heart Defects

The word “congenital” means existing at birth. The terms “congenital heart defect” and “congenital heart disease” are often used to mean the same thing, but “defect” is more accurate.

The heart ailment is a defect or abnormality, not a disease. A defect results when the heart or blood vessels near the heart don’t develop normally before birth. Working with your healthcare team, learn about the different types of congenital heart defects, treatments and tests.

Common Types of Heart Defects

  • Aortic Valve Stenosis (AVS)
  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
  • Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA)
  • Complete Atrioventricular Canal Defect (CACV)
  • d-Transposition of the great arteries
  • Ebstein’s Anomaly
  • I-Transprosition of the great arteries
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA)
  • Pulmonary Valve Stenosis
  • Single Ventricle Defects
  • Tetralogy of Falot
  • Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC)
  • Truncus Arteriosis
  • Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

The Impact of Congenital Heart Defect

Congenital heart defects are often diagnosed in infancy, or even before birth. But some defects are harder to detect than others and may not be diagnosed until much later in childhood or even adulthood.
The following associations can help to provide you information and pediatric hospitals to help you through this difficult diagnosis:

American Heart Association

Mended Little Hearts

The Congenital Heart Information Network

CHD Pediatric Hospitals

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Heart Center

Fairview Children’s Hospital-Minneapolis, MN

Sibley Heart Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

The Heart Institute for Children Oak Lawn, IL – (I can personally recommend this hospital as there is where my little guy had his Blalock-Taussig shunt surgery at 16 days, his open-Heart surgery for Tetralogy of Fallot at 6 months old and his heart catherization at 4 years old.)

The Harvard (Boston) Cardiovascular Program

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Congenital Heart Resource Center – Portland, OR

Clarian Health – Krannert Institute of Cardiology


Cleveland Clinic Foundation Pediatrics

University of Chicago Hospitals