Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs)


A congenital heart defect (CHD) is a structural abnormality in the heart that is present at birth. The word congenital simply means present at birth. There are many different kinds of CHDs, ranging from very simple malformations that do not require surgery, to very complex malformations that require open-heart surgery shortly after birth.


  • Approximately 44,000 children (1 out of every 100) are born with a CHD each year in the USA.

  • CHDs are the most common birth defect; one baby is born with a CHD every 15 minutes in the USA.

  • It is estimated that more than two million individuals in the United States are living with a CHD.

  • CHDs are responsible for one third of all birth defect-related deaths and sadly, 20 percent of children who make it through birth will not survive past their first birthday.

  • Research continues to be grossly under-funded in America. Of every dollar the government spends on medical funding, only a fraction of a penny is directed toward CHD research.

  • The causes of CHDs among most babies are unknown, although scientists and physicians are making progress toward discovering more about this.

  • Childhood survival of CHDs has risen from below 20 percent in 1950 to more than 90 percent today. Due to the increase in childhood survival, the congenital heart disease population increases by an estimated 5 percent every year.

All statistics are courtesy of the Center for Disease Control