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Most common congenital heart defects

There are several types of congenital heart disease (CHD), with different character, evolution and prognosis. Some congenital heart diseases are more common than others. The cause, why one person is born with this condition and another is not, is still unknown. Fortunately, medical and technological advances in recent decades have made it possible to make early diagnoses and, therefore, to deal with this pathology earlier. This translates into greater life expectancy for those with congenital heart disease.

Generically speaking, heart disease is a pathology that affects the heart and can be acquired or congenital. In the first case, the condition appears in a healthy heart at some point in life, after birth.

In the case of congenital heart disease, it arises during embryological development, so a person is born with this heart defect. They are due to an error in the formation of the heart or the surrounding blood vessels. Some have a milder character and, therefore, a better prognosis, but there are also more severe cases with a more guarded prognosis.

Congenital heart disease may occur in isolation or in combination with other anomalies. Some individuals may have several combined cardiac lesions, but there is no direct relationship between the number of associated lesions and the severity of the case.

These anatomical lesions occur in one or more cardiac chambers, in the partitions separating them, or in the valves or blood outflow tracts of the heart. Depending on the anomaly or anomalies present, the congenital heart disease will be.

What are the most common congenital heart diseases?

Although people with this pathology have some common characteristics, each diagnosis will have a different evolution, prognosis and treatment. As we have mentioned, there are different types, although there are some conditions that occur more frequently than others.

Tetralogy of Fallot

Tetralogy of FallotThis condition occurs with several associated heart diseases. It is a condition that has four cardiac lesions that affect the structure of the heart and cause blood to flow with insufficient oxygen to the rest of the body: ventricular septal defect (VSD), pulmonary stenosis, aortic malposition and right ventricular hypertrophy.

The aorta does not receive enough oxygenated blood to send to the rest of the body. Pulmonary stenosis makes it difficult for blood to reach the lung for oxygenation. Ventricular septal defect causes mixing of oxygenated and non-oxygenated blood from the right ventricle. All this causes the abnormal enlargement of this ventricle and malformation of the aorta.

Pulmonary stenosis

Pulmonary stenosisThis condition is also one of the most common congenital heart diseases. It results from a narrowing of the valve between the lower right chamber of the heart (right ventricle) and the pulmonary arteries. This causes blood flow through the valve to be reduced.

This abnormality causes the right ventricle to have to push blood into the lung with greater force and pressure to overcome the obstacle of pulmonary stenosis, eventually causing hypertrophy of the right ventricle.

Aortic stenosis aortic

stenosisThe aorta is the main artery that carries blood out of the heart. When blood leaves the heart, it flows through the aortic valve into the aorta. If this valve does not open properly, blood flow decreases.

As the aortic valve narrows, the left ventricle has to work harder to pump blood through the valve. In order to do this extra work, the muscles in the walls of the ventricle become thicker. As the pressure increases, some of the blood stays inside the ventricle or returns to the lung, limiting the amount of blood that reaches the rest of the body.

Transposition of great vessels

This is another of the most common congenital heart diseases. It responds to a "failure" in the connection of the arteries and their ventricles. The right ventricle connects with the aorta artery instead of the pulmonary artery. At the same time, the left ventricle connects to the pulmonary artery instead of the aorta.

In this way, oxygen-rich blood does not leave the left ventricle for the rest of the body, but is re-oxygenated back to the lung. Meanwhile, oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle leaves through the aorta to travel through the body, causing the rest of the organs to lack the oxygen they need.