Congenital Heart Defects (CHD)

A congenital heart defect is a problem with the structure of the heart. It is present at birth. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect. The defects can involve the walls of the heart, the valves of the heart, and the arteries and veins near the heart. Many congenital heart defects cause few or no signs and symptoms. They are often not diagnosed until children are older. Over the past few decades, the diagnosis and treatment of these complex defects has greatly improved. As a result, almost all children who have complex heart defects survive to adulthood and can live active, productive lives.

Pulse oximetry newborn screening is a non-invasive test that measures how much oxygen is in the blood and can help to identify babies that may be affected with CHD before they leave the newborn nursery. If detected early, infants affected with CHD can often be treated and lead longer, healthier lives.
3 out of 1,000 babies have a critical congenital cardiac lesions.
Critical CHD requires treatment within the first year of life.
Treatment for children with CHD depends on the type of the defect, how severe it is, and a child's age, size, and general health. It can include medicines, catheter procedures, surgery, and heart transplants. Some children who have complex congenital heart defects may need several catheter or surgical procedures over a period of years, or they may need to take medicines for years.

Our doctors are qualified to address any concerns you have or speak to you about treatments available if your child is diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.

Causes of CHD

Medical researchers know that CHDs develop when the heart is still forming, during very early pregnancy. Although they’re uncertain of a direct cause, medical experts deem several factors can be at play in CHD development. For instance, there is a link between CDHs and expecting mothers who contract rubella (or german measles) or are considered obese (a BMI over 30).

Expecting moms with lupus (an autoimmune disease that impacts heartbeat), some cases of phenylketonuria (or PKU, which blocks the breakdown of the amino acid phenylalanine), and diabetes (due to blood glucose) are also prone to delivering babies with CDHs. Babies are also prone to heart defects if certain gene or chromosomal mutations are present.

How will I know if my baby has CHD?

Rapid Breathing
Poor Feeding
Poor Weight Gain
A bluish tint to the skin, lips, and fingernails
Heart Murmur
“Extra noise“ detected by doctor
Pulse Oxymetry Screening
to be done before a newborn is discharged from the hospital to identify CHD before they show any signs.

What Are Heart Murmurs?

The human heartbeat is usually steady: lub-dub, lub-dub. In some people, though, the blood makes an extra noise as it flows through the heart. This sound is called a murmur. A murmur sounds like a whooshing or swishing noise, a bit like water rushing through a pipe.

Speak to your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual signs in your newborn's breathing patterns.
“Identifying critical congenital heart disease before a newborn is discharged allows us to treat the child more effectively and immediately for better results. ”
Dr Lim Miin Kang,
Paediatric Cardiologist