Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart Disease (CHDs) incorporates a group of abnormalities of the heart and is a general name for any type of malformation of the heart, heart valves or major blood vessels which are present at birth. Defects can range from simple to complex and can occur alone or in groups, depending on how the heart has developed.

Congenital heart disease can include the following abnormalities:

Congenital heart disease is the most common congenital disorder in newborns. The birth rate prevalence of congenital heart disease is understood to be approximately 8 – 10 cases per 1,000 live births.  In Australia, there are approximately 300,000 registered births per year resulting 2,400 – 3,000 babies born each year with a form of congenital heart disease.  Cumulatively, taking into consideration newborns through to adults living with CHD, this number could conceivably represent well over 65,000 Australians.

Although there is no indication that the incidence of CHD is increasing, as Australian birth rates increase and enhanced medical care and technology continue to improve survival rates following medical interventions, the prevalence is predicted to increase. In particular, there are an increasing number of adults with congenital heart disease who are not well served by the existing health care system.

Gaining a better understanding of the entire spectrum of CHD, the number of people living with CHD, and the total burden of disease across the disease continuum is imperative to patients and those responsible for treating them, including health policy makers, ultimately delivering not just better, but sustainable care.