The facts on congenital heart defects

Heartbeat with hand

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) About nine of every 1,000 babies born in the United States have a congenital heart defect, which is a problem that occurs as a baby’s heart is developing during pregnancy. Dr. Mehul Patel from the Congenital Heart Center at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital breaks down what you need to know about congenital heart defects.

What is a congenital heart defect?

Any heart defect that is present from birth is called “congenital.” It may or may not be known that the condition exists when the baby is born. Congenital heart problems range from simple to complex. Up to 1.3 million Americans alive today have some form of a congenital heart defect.

Do congenital heart defects affect only babies and children? 

No, there are many adults living with congenital heart defects too. It is important for adults living with a congenital heart defect to see a congenital heart specialist, as they may require treatment that differs from individuals who develop heart problems later in life.

The Congenital Heart Center at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has the expertise to help people living with congenital heart defects. The center is one of the few in the country that can offer a seamless transition of care as patients mature into adulthood.

The month of February is American Heart Month and it is a time to encourage everybody to learn about heart health and keeping yourself, your friends, and family “heart healthy.”

Saturday, February 7 to Sunday, February 14 is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has two special events taking place during February:

Congenital Heart Facebook Chat
Thursday, February 5
12:15 – 12:45 p.m.
Visit the HDVCH Facebook page to submit questions and see responses from Dr. Mehul Patel and the co-directors of the Congenital Heart Center, Dr. Marcus Haw, and Dr. Joseph Vettukattil.

Living with Congenital Heart Disease
Thursday, February 12
6 – 8 p.m.
Meijer Heart Center, room 8811
Parking is available in Ramp 7 on Michigan Street
A free event to educate adolescents and young adults about the importance of maintaining a relationship with their congenital heart specialist. The event is free, but registration is requested. Register online or by calling (616) 267-2368.

Congenital Heart Center
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
100 Michigan Street NE, Floor 10
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone (616) 267-9150
Fax (616) 267-1408

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