Mothers of children who are born with atrial septal defects (ASDs), ventricular septal defects (VSDs), or other heart defects may think they did something wrong during their pregnancies. However, most of the time, doctors 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 is slightly more likely than other people to have a child who has the problem. Very 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. 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.
Scientists continue to search for the causes of congenital heart defects.
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 Holes in the Heart, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Visit Children and Clinical Studies to hear experts, parents, and children talk about their experiences with clinical research.
November 20, 2013
Gary H. Gibbons
New NHLBI Program Trains Scientists to Bring More Science Out of the Lab and into the Patient Care Marketplace
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