February 2015: Busting the Congenital Heart Defect Repair Myth: Why specialized lifelong care is so important
In the United State, approximately 40,000 babies per year (1 in 110) are born with a congenital heart defect (CHD). The oft-used words in CHD care of, “fixed, repaired, and live a normal life” lead to the false assumption that surgery as a young child is a cure. Children with CHD are more likely to report worse health overall, to need more health services, and to have other health conditions. It is estimated that 50% of children with congenital heart defects drop out of care or have a gap in care prior to 15 years of age. Lifelong co-management between CHD specialists and primary care providers is important to address nutritional needs, exercise intolerance or restrictions, developmental, behavioral or cognitive issues and many cardiac specific risk factors (eg, obesity, smoking). Learn more about lifelong care for children, youth and adults living with CHD at www.chphc.org.