Medical Info

Helping you to understand more about heart defects in children and young people.


Heart defects in children can range from the simple to the complex. As such there are many different types of defect ranging from congenital (present from birth) to those that are acquired later in childhood due to illness, and to those that have arisen due to a genetic syndrome. The good news is that with advances in medicine and technology, many children with heart disease go on to live active, full lives.

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is not a single disease but a general name for malformation of the heart, heart valves or major blood vessels that are present at birth, affecting the structure of the baby’s heart and the way it works.

CHDs can vary from mild (such as a small hole in the heart) to severe (such as missing or poorly formed parts of the heart). It is the most common form of birth defect.

CHD is a global condition, affecting around one million new-borns per year and more than two hundred babies are born yearly in Northern Ireland with CHD.

As medical care and treatment have advanced, babies with CHD are living longer and healthier lives. When disease induced limitations are controlled, and compliance to treatment is adhered, many children with CHD have a comparable quality of life to normative/healthy populations.

There are over 44 types of congenital heart disease. Click here for information on some of the most common.