Accessible Search Form           Advanced Search

  • PRINT PAGE  |  PRINT ENTIRE TOPIC  |  SHARE

What Causes Congenital Heart Defects?

If your child has a congenital heart defect, you may think you did something wrong during your pregnancy to cause the problem. However, doctors often don't know why congenital heart defects occur.

Heredity may play a role in some heart defects. For example, a parent who has a congenital heart defect may be more likely than other people to have a child with the defect. Rarely, more than one child in a family is born with a heart defect.

Children who have genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, often have congenital heart defects. In fact, half of all babies who have Down syndrome have congenital heart defects.

Smoking during pregnancy also has been linked to several congenital heart defects, including septal defects.

Researchers continue to search for the causes of congenital heart defects.

Rate This Content:

  
previous topic next topic

Featured Video


New pediatric imaging facility aims to improve treatment for congenital heart disease

Congenital Heart Defects Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Congenital Heart Defects, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.

Children and Clinical Studies Logo

Visit Children and Clinical Studies to hear experts, parents, and children talk about their experiences with clinical research.

 
July 01, 2011 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.