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Facts about congenital heart disease

Many people think that heart problems are conditions that only affect adults. But in fact:


One in every 100 newborns in the UAE is born with a congenital heart disease. This makes congenital heart disease the most common type of congenital disorder.


  • Congenital heart disease (CHD) occurs during the early stages of a mother's pregnancy, when the fetus's heart is still forming.

  • Conditions classified as congenital heart disease include: Abnormalities in the structure of the heart or the heart's electrical system

  • Congenital heart disease, or congenital heart defect, is a heart abnormality that's present at birth. The problem can affect:

    • heart walls

    • heart valves

    • Blood vessels

  • Congenital heart disease is about 60 times more common than childhood cancer

  • Congenital heart disease is the most common cause of death in children associated with birth defects.

  • Congenital heart disease affects around 970 babies born in the UAE every year, making it the most common type of birth defect.

  • Genetic or chromosomal abnormalities cause some heart defects. Other risk factors include maternal smoking (during pregnancy), maternal obesity, maternal diabetes, and maternal infections such as rubella.

  • Congenital heart disease is a chronic condition that requires lifelong care. Surgery is not a cure.

  • Some types of complex heart defects are lifelong and require specialized care, often requiring additional surgeries and medications later in life.

  • Children with heart defects often have a lifelong risk of developing other medical problems and cognitive or developmental complications.

  • Caring for children with heart defects is a difficult and complex task that causes emotional and financial stress for families, and requires many hospital resources.

  • Parents need all kinds of support - informational, emotional and functional - to be able to cope with the stress of caring for a child with congenital heart disease.

  • There are few resources dedicated to the care of adult congenital heart disease patients in the UAE Only 3 cardiologists are formally trained to care for adult congenital heart disease patients, and only 4 surgeons with adult congenital heart disease expertise

  • For the first time in history, there are more adults than children with congenital heart disease thanks to improved treatment and care.

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