Have a heart… get facts on CHD

By on February 13, 2013

Tomorrow caps the 2013 Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, created to educate the public about Congenital Heart Defects (CHD), which occur as a baby’s heart develops during pregnancy. While most cases have no known cause, others are presumed to be genetic. Some heart problems are simple and can be monitored by a physician and controlled with medication, yet others are complex, requiring multiple life-threatening surgeries. The following list provides further facts about CHD:

? CHD is the number 1 birth defect worldwide.

?Nearly twice as many children die from CHD in the U.S. each year than from all forms of childhood cancers combined, yet funding for pediatric cancer research is five times higher than funding for CHD research.

? Each year approximately 40,000 babies are born with CHD in the U.S. Thousands of them will not live to celebrate their first birthday.

? Some babies are diagnosed before birth; others aren’t diagnosed until days, months or even years later.

? There are only seven states in the U.S. that mandate newborn testing for CHD before going home from the hospital. Pennsylvania is not one of them, although some efforts have been started to have a law passed.

? Currently there are more than 40 known heart defects and no prevention or cure for any of them.

? Many CHD patients experience long-term complications including lung, liver and gastrointestinal diseases.

? Almost half of all children and adults with complex CHD have neurological and developmental disabilities.

? For some CHD patients, their only hope is a heart transplant.

? There are an estimated 2 million CHD survivors now living in the U.S.

? Only one penny of every dollar donated to the American Heart Association goes toward CHD research, and only a fraction of a penny of every dollar that the government spends on medical funding is directed toward CHD research.

? The Children’s Heart Foundation is the only organization that was created to exclusively fund CHD research.

? Advances in diagnosis and surgical treatment have led to dramatic increases in survival for children with serious heart defects.

Visit childrensheartfoundation.org and chop.edu for more information on CHD.

Search "Hope for Hearts (Living with Congenital Heart Defects CHD)" at youtube.com to watch a video created by local mother Greta Hurst, who shares her family’s personal story in an effort to spread awareness about CHD. More CHD, page A6

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