Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is a term to describe a group of developmental birth defects caused by various influences upon the developing heart, early in pregnancy. The mysteries that cause these heart birth defects are still not fully understood, even though treatment for most conditions is highly advanced and successful.

Over the decades, the incidence of congenital heart defects has remained constant at 7 to 8 cases for every 1000 live births.

In this section, birth defects of the heart are described, with special emphasis on the treatment options for each type of defect. You’ll find below a categorized listing of the different Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) with explanatory articles on each.


Types of Congenital Heart Defects (CHD)

Atrial Septal Defect – ASD
A defect in the wall between the left and right atria that causes a shunt of blood inside the heart resulting in increased lung blood flow.

Ventricular Septal Defect – VSD
The wall between the two ventricles has a defect in this condition resulting in blood going from the left ventricle into the right, causing more lung blood flow.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus – PDA
This abnormal persistence of a communication between the aorta and pulmonary artery results in an excessive lung blood flow.

Pulmonary Stenosis – PS
Narrowing of the pulmonary valve that guards the opening to the pulmonary artery causes a strain on the right ventricle with harmful effects.

Coarctation of Aorta – CoA
A narrowing in the aorta at the region of the isthmus of the aorta that can cause high blood pressure, left ventricle failure and much more.

Tetralogy of Fallot
A short account of the most common cyanotic congenital heart defect and various surgical procedures to cure the condition.

Double Outlet Right Ventricle – DORV
A more complex defect caused by the aorta arising from the right ventricle, it can mimic many different conditions clinically.

Tricuspid Atresia – TA
When the tricuspid valve is imperforate from birth, there is only one functional ventricle. Treatment is by a Fontan operation.

Transposition of Great Arteries – TGA
When the aorta and pulmonary arteries arise from the “wrong” ventricles, there is a mixing of pure and impure blood with harmful effects.

Ebstein’s Anomaly
A simple description of this complex cyanotic heart disease and methods of it’s treatment.

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome – HLHS
Caused by a general under-development of the left sided heart structures, this severe condition is recently being treated with improving outcomes.

Single Ventricle
An account of the complex set of congenital heart defects that collectively are called univentricular hearts and treated by the Fontan operation or other palliative procedures.


Other CHD Information

What’s responsible for CHD?
A look at the factors that might be responsible for congenital heart defects, and some of the known causes of heart birth defects.

CHD Support Groups
CHD affects entire families. Along the winding, tortuous road to treatment, with major surgery and continuing medical care looming, most families need a helping hand, peers they can count on for support and encouragement in difficult times. Here are some wonderful resources.


Our Work With CHD Families

My non-profit Dr.Mani Children Heart Foundation spreads congenital heart disease awareness and raises funds for sponsoring life-saving heart surgery for children from under-privileged families.

To learn more about our success, please visit the Foundation’s website at

You can support the project by buying a book from the Heart Book Store.

Heart Book Club