congenital heart disease

congenital heart disease

congenital heart disease, any defect in the heart present at birth. There is evidence that some congenital heart defects are inherited, but the cause of most cases is unknown. One known cause is infection of the mother with the rubella (German measles) virus during the first trimester of pregnancy. Among the most common congenital heart disorders are malformations in the valves and the persistence of structures that are normally closed off at birth, i.e., the ductus arteriosis (the fetal blood vessel that shunts blood from the pulmonary vein to the aorta, bypassing the heart) and the foramen ovale (the opening between the left and right atria of the fetal heart). If the malformation is severe, it will produce various symptoms of insufficient heart function, such as cyanosis (a bluish tinge to the skin), dyspnea (difficulty in breathing), fatigue, and abnormal heartbeat; valvular deformities predispose the patient to bacterial infection of the endocardium (see endocarditis). Less severe malformations may not produce noticeable symptoms until later in life, and some may not require any medical attention. Many congenital heart defects that are debilitating can be corrected surgically. Other congenital anomalies, such as Down syndrome, are present in about 20% of cases of congenital heart disease. See also heart disease.

Deformity of the heart. Examples include septal defect (opening in the septum between the sides of the heart), atresia (absence) or stenosis (narrowing) of one or more valves, tetralogy of Fallot (with four components: ventricular septal defect, pulmonary valve stenosis, right ventricular enlargement, and positioning of the aorta so that it receives blood from both ventricles), and transposition of the great vessels (so the pulmonary and systemic circulations each receive blood from the wrong side of the heart). Such defects can prevent enough oxygen from reaching the tissues, so the skin has a bluish cast. Many are fatal if not corrected surgically soon after birth—or, rarely, before birth, if detected prenatally. Abnormalities of the large vessels are usually less serious (see aorta, coarctation of; ductus arteriosus).

Learn more about congenital heart disease with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Heart disease is an umbrella term for a variety for different diseases affecting the heart. As of 2007, it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, killing one person every 34 seconds in the United States alone.

Types of heart disease

Coronary heart disease

Coronary artery disease is a disease of the artery caused by the accumulation of atheromatous plaques within the walls of the arteries that supply the myocardium. Angina pectoris (chest pain) and myocardial infarction (heart attack) are symptoms of and conditions caused by coronary heart disease.

Over 451,000 Americans die of coronary heart disease every year. In the United Kingdom, 101,000 deaths annually are due to coronary heart disease.

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy literally means "heart muscle disease" (Myo= muscle, pathy= disease) It is the deterioration of the function of the myocardium (i.e., the actual heart muscle) for any reason. People with cardiomyopathy are often at risk of arrhythmia and/or sudden cardiac death.

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is any of a number of specific diseases that affect the heart itself and/or the blood vessel system, especially the veins and arteries leading to and from the heart. Research on disease dimorphism suggests that women who suffer with cardiovascular disease usually suffer from forms that affect the blood vessels while men usually suffer from forms that affect the heart muscle itself. Known or associated causes of cardiovascular disease include diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperhomocysteinemia and hypercholesterolemia.

Types of cardiovascular disease include:

Ischaemic heart disease

  • Ischaemic heart disease - another disease of the heart itself, characterized by reduced blood supply to the organs.

Heart failure

Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure (or CHF), and congestive cardiac failure (CCF), is a condition that can result from any structural or functional cardiac disorder that impairs the ability of the heart to fill with or pump a sufficient amount of blood throughout the body.

Hypertensive heart disease

Hypertensive heart disease is heart disease caused by high blood pressure, especially localised high blood pressure. Conditions that can be caused by hypertensive heart disease include:

Inflammatory heart disease

Inflammatory heart disease involves inflammation of the heart muscle and/or the tissue surrounding it.

Valvular heart disease

Valvular heart disease is disease process that has one tube valves of the heart. The valves in the right side of the heart are the tricuspid valve and the pulmonic valve. The valves in the left side of the heart are the mitral valve and the aortic valve.

See also

References

External links

Search another word or see congenital heart diseaseon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;