• Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are problems with the heart’s structure that are present at birth.

  • CHDs are the most common birth defects. CHDs occur in almost 1% of births.

  • Approximately 100-200 deaths are due to unrecognized heart disease in newborns each year. These numbers exclude those dying before diagnosis.

  • Nearly 40,000 infants in the U.S. are born each year with CHDs.

  • CHDs are the most common cause of infant death due to birth defects.

  • Approximately 25% of children born with a CHD will need heart surgery or other interventions to survive.

  • Over 85% of babies born with a CHD now live to at least age 18. However, children born with more severe forms of CHDs are less likely to reach adulthood.

  • Surgery is often not a cure for CHDs. Many individuals with CHDs require additional operation(s) and/or medications as adults.

  • People with CHDs face a life-long risk of health problems such as issues with growth and eating, developmental delays, difficulty with exercise, heart rhythm problems, heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest or stroke.

  • Most causes of CHDs are unknown. Only 15-20% of all CHDs are related to known genetic conditions.

  • It is estimated that at least 280 infants with unrecognized critical CHD are discharged from the newborn nurseries each year in the United States.






Information from Congenital Heart Public Health Consortium



Congenital heart defects are common and can be deadly, yet CHD research is grossly under-funded relative to the prevalence of the disease. Increased awareness means more funding, more research, and better outcomes for our children.                       

CHD Facts