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What are the types of Congenital Heart Defects?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 06, 2013
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Congenital heart defects change the normal flow of blood through the heart. This is because some part of the heart didn't develop properly before birth.


There are many types of congenital heart defects. Some are simple, such as a hole in the septum that allows blood from the left and right sides of the heart to mix, or a narrowed valve that blocks blood flow to the lungs or other parts of the body.


Other defects are more complex. These include combinations of simple defects, problems with where the blood vessels leading to and from the heart are located, and more serious problems with how the heart develops.


Examples of Simple Congenital Heart Defects


Holes in the Heart (Septal Defects)


The septum is the wall that separates the chambers on the left side of the heart from those on the right. The wall prevents mixing of blood between the two sides of the heart. Sometimes, a baby is born with a hole in the septum. The hole allows blood to mix between the two sides of the heart.

 

Atrial septal defect (ASD)

 

An ASD is a hole in the part of the septum that separates the atria—the upper chambers of the heart. This heart defect allows oxygen-rich blood from the left atrium to flow into the right atrium instead of flowing to the left ventricle as it should. Many children who have ASDs have few, if any, symptoms.


Normal Heart and Heart With Atrial Septal Defect

 

Figure A shows the structure and blood flow in the interior of a normal heart. Figure B shows a heart with an atrial septal defect, which allows oxygen-rich blood from the left atrium to mix with oxygen-poor blood from the right atrium.

Figure A shows the structure and blood flow in the interior of a normal heart. Figure B shows a heart with an atrial septal defect, which allows oxygen-rich blood from the left atrium to mix with oxygen-poor blood from the right atrium.

 

An ASD can be small or large. Small ASDs allow only a little blood to leak from one atrium to the other. Very small ASDs don't affect the way the heart works and don't require any treatment. Many small ASDs close on their own as the heart grows during childhood.

 

Medium to large ASDs allow more blood to leak from one atrium to the other, and they're less likely to close on their own.


Half of all ASDs close on their own or are so small that no treatment is needed. Medium to large ASDs that need treatment can be repaired using a catheter procedure or open-heart surgery.

 

Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

 

A VSD is a hole in the part of the septum that separates the ventricles—the lower chambers of the heart. The hole allows oxygen-rich blood to flow from the left ventricle into the right ventricle instead of flowing into the aorta and out to the body as it should.

 

Figure A shows the structure and blood flow in the interior of a normal heart. Figure B shows two common locations for a ventricular septal defect. The defect allows oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle to mix with oxygen-poor blood in the right ventricle.


A VSD can be small or large. A small VSD doesn't cause problems and may close on its own. ...

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