Celebrating CHD Awareness Week

During CHD Awareness Week, the Congenital Heart Center at UF will be tweeting (@UFCHC) and Facebooking (facebook.com/ufchc) information about congenital heart defects. 

February is the month to celebrate everything hearts. It’s American Heart Month and today starts Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week (Feb. 7-14), a national event aimed at educating the public about the frequency and effects of congenital heart disease.

An average of 1 in 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect (CHD), an abnormality a child is born with in the structure and/or electrical impulses in the heart. CHDs are the most common of all birth defects, and affect about 40,000 children each year. Sadly, about 4,000 children – or about 10 percent – die each year from complications of their congenital heart defects. CHDs are the leading cause of death among children younger than 1.

More than 40 heart defects have been identified, and a baby may be born with one defect or multiple anomalies, ranging from holes in the septal walls to missing one of the four chambers in the heart. The good news is that now more than ever, those born with even severe heart defects often live well into adulthood and have active, productive lives.

The Congenital Heart Center at the University of Florida treats patients of all ages who have congenital heart defects. Under the leadership of director and principal cardiothoracic surgeon Mark Bleiweis, MD, the Center has enhanced every aspect of its congenital heart program. The CHC has one of the most successful heart-transplant programs in the country, and for 2012-13, U.S. News ranked the Center’s pediatric cardiology and heart surgery services among the Top 25 programs in the nation.