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Observed each year,  February 7-14, Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week promotes awareness and education about congenital heart defects (CHD). According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 40,000 infants in the United States are born with a congenital heart defect. Congenital heart defects are one of the most common types of birth defect and is one of the leading causes of infant death during the first year of life. Currently, there are more than 2.4 million children and adults living with congenital heart defects, states The Children’s Heart Foundation.

A congenital heart defect may be mild (such as a small hole in the heart) to intense (such as missing or poorly formed parts of the heart).  Some heart defects can be diagnosed prenatally using a special type of ultrasound called a fetal echocardiogram. However, some might be detected during newborn screening using pulse oximetry, and others might be discovered during childhood or adulthood by clinical exam or when the person becomes symptomatic.

It is important for parents of children with a heart defect and adults living with a heart defect to talk with a heart doctor (cardiologist) regularly. Memorial Healthcare doctors work closely with area cardiologists to support the health and wellness of children and adults living with congenital heart defects. For more information about Memorial Healthcare’s Cardiology Services and Rehabilitation programs, please click here.