Congenital Heart Defects

The heart program at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital brings together the best cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, neonatology and maternal-fetal medicine specialists in the region to care for mothers and their babies who have a congenital heart defect.

From early diagnosis, as early as 17 weeks gestation, to advanced deliveries that take place steps from the region's only pediatric hybrid cardiac catheterization suite, our SLUCare Physician Group team has the expertise and technology to provide the best possible outcome for conditions such as:

What is a Congenital Heart Defect?

Congenital heart defects are abnormalities in the heart's structure that are present at birth and range from mild to severe. This means that the heart may not pump blood well, beat correctly or allow blood to flow normally through its chambers or arteries. The most common congenital heart defects are hypoplastic left heart syndrome, ventricular septal defect, heart murmur and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).

Approximately 40,000 births are affected by a congenital heart defect in the US every year. Thanks to advanced treatment however, nearly all children diagnosed with a congenital heart defect grow up to lead active, productive lives.

What Causes a Congenital Heart Defect?

In most cases, we don’t know what makes a baby's heart develop abnormally. Congenital heart defects occur within the first few weeks of life. Genetic and environmental factors do appear to affect babies while in the womb. Data show that 30% of children with chromosomal abnormalities and inherited disorders have heart defects. Other factors can include:

  • Gene mutations
  • Mothers who have Rubella (measles) or flu during the first trimester
  • Alcohol and cocaine use
  • Certain medications
  • Chronic illness in the mother such as diabetes

The signs and symptoms of a congenital heart defect vary depending on your child’s age and the severity of the defect. Treatment of your child’s congenital heart defect will also be dependent upon their overall condition.

Through every step of the process, we strive to provide the information and support you need to get your child back on track. To learn more about our heart services, please call us at 314-577-5674.

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