Congenital Heart Disease

INTEGRIS Health cardiologists and specialists have extensive experience in caring for congenital heart disease, with cutting-edge technologies and procedures.

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is one or more defects in the heart's structure that's present at birth. The disease can be detected before birth, soon after birth or anytime throughout life. Symptoms and treatment depend on the type of the defect and the severity of the symptoms. If you experience congenital heart disease, it's recommended to see a cardiologist regularly.

Congenital heart disease is a defect or problem that can be one of the following:

  • A hole in the heart wall
  • Issues with heart valves
  • Issues with the blood vessels

Some cases of congenital heart disease are simple and don't cause any symptoms; however, other conditions can be serious and require immediate treatment.

Types of Congenital Heart Disease

There are two types of congenital heart defects, cyanotic congenital heart disease and acyanotic congenital heart disease.

Cyanotic Congenital Heart Disease (low oxygen in the blood

Cyanotic congenital heart disease is when the heart defect reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to the rest of the body. Babies born with cyanotic congenital heart disease typically have low levels of oxygen and require surgery.

Conditions can include:

  • Left heart obstructive lesions: hypoplastic left heart syndrome or interrupted aortic arch
  • Right obstructive lesions: tetralogy of Fallot, pulmonary atresia, and tricuspid atresia
  • Mixing lesions: truncus arteriosus

Acyanotic Congenital Heart Disease (blood oxygen level is acceptable)

Acyanotic congenital heart disease involves a defect that causes the blood to pump through the body abnormally.

Conditions can include:

  • Hole in the heart: atrial septal defect, atrioventricular canal, patent ductus arteriosus, ventricular septal defect.
  • Problem with the aorta: aortic coarctation
  • Problem with the pulmonary artery: pulmonary artery stenosis

Signs and Symptoms of Congenital Heart Disease

For some people, signs and symptoms of congenital heart disease aren't as noticeable until adulthood. Symptoms can also return years after the disease is treated.

Symptoms for congenital heart disease may include:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Weak pulse or pounding heartbeat
  • Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
  • Blue skin, lips and fingernails (cyanosis)
  • Feeling tired after simple activities
  • Swelling of the body tissue or organs (edema)
  • Shortness of breath

Diagnosing Congenital Heart Disease

Heart defects can sometimes be found before the baby is born. Your healthcare provider may detect something when doing a routine prenatal ultrasound. If something is found, you and the fetus may need more tests done.

Other defects can be found after the baby is born. These tests are typically done with sensors on the finger or toes making them painless for the baby undergoing tests.

Tests that can help diagnose congenital heart disease in newborns, children or adults include:

  • Physical exam
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Echocardiogram
  • Heart Catheterization
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Treatment for Congenital Heart Disease

Treatment for congenital heart disease can range for people depending on their level of severity. For some patients, the disease may not be serious enough to require treatment. For other patients, symptoms can become more severe in adulthood and require treatment.

For minor congenital heart defects, your doctor may recommend routine checkups to monitor the condition. Others may need medication or surgery.


Some mild congenital heart defects can be treated with medications. Your doctor may recommend a medication to help prevent blood clots or control an irregular heartbeat.

Surgical Procedures

Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure to help treat your condition.

These procedures can include:

  • Implantable heart devices: a device to help control your heart rate (pacemaker) or correct irregular heartbeats (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator or ICD)
  • Catheter-based treatments
  • Open-heart surgery: if a catheter can't fix your condition, open-heart surgery may be an option
  • Heart transplant: if the heart can't be repaired, a transplant may be an option

The INTEGRIS Heart Hospital is dedicated to providing exceptional cardiovascular care to patients, with a comprehensive range of services and advanced treatment options. With a team of highly skilled cardiologists, surgeons, and support staff, they strive to deliver personalized care tailored to each patient's unique needs. From preventive screenings to complex surgeries, the INTEGRIS Heart Hospital group is committed to promoting heart health and improving outcomes for individuals throughout their journey.

INTEGRIS Health physicians, cardiologists and specialists have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating congenital heart disease with cutting-edge technologies and procedures brought to you by INTEGRIS Heart Hospital. We'll do everything we can for your baby's tiny heart so you can enjoy a long, happy, active life together.

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