Monday, January 18, 2010

Assessing The Terrain; Hoping to Shed Some Light

The first steps down this path for me involved education. You can share in this journey via the links, if you are so inclined. In brief, here are the facts:

Congenital = present at birth

Disease is not really the best term, although it is used. "Defect" is more exact.

CHD Facts:

* Congenital heart disease is a heart defect that is present from birth.

* Congenital heart disease includes:
  • abnormally formed blood vessels
  • abnormal heart valves
  • abnormalities of the heart muscle or walls,
  • abnormal connections between the heart and the blood vessels
(More Facts)

CHD is the number 1 birth defect:
"According to the March of Dimes, congenital heart defects are the #1 birth defect. In the US alone, over 25,000 babies are born each year with a congenital heart defect. That translates to 1 out of every 115 to 150 births. (To put those numbers into perspective, only 1 in every 800 to 1,000 babies is born with Downs Syndrome.)"

"Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a more or less random event. The mysteries that underlie it still remain unravelled. The incidence of cardiac birth defects has remained constant - at 7 to 8 cases for every 1000 live births - across time and continents" Source:

CHD is an umbrella underneath which many various forms/presentations exist. Take a peak under the the "umbrella of CHD".

Truncus Arteriosus

Truncus arteriosus occurs in less than one out of every 10,000 live births. It makes up 1 percent of all cases of congenital heart disease.
(more from

"Truncus arteriosus (TRUNG-kus ahr-teer-e-O-sus) is a heart defect that creates severe circulatory problems. If your baby has truncus arteriosus, one large vessel leads out of the heart, instead of two separate vessels — one leading out of each of the lower chambers of the heart. Also, the two lower chambers are missing a portion of the wall dividing them. As a result of truncus arteriosus, oxygen-poor blood that should go to the lungs and oxygen-rich blood that should go to the rest of the body are mixed together.

If left untreated, truncus arteriosus usually leads to death within the first or second year of life. Surgery to repair the heart and blood vessels is usually successful, especially if the repair occurs before your baby is 2 months old.

Truncus arteriosus, one of the least common heart defects, is also known as persistent truncus arteriosus." (full write-up at the Mayo Clinic)

The following links offer the best information I've found on the internet.

John's Hopkins site - this includes the best illustrations available. Don't forget to view the "mouse-overs" to see the comparison illustrations.

Another good write-up

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