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February 14th is recognized as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day under Massachusetts General law.

The primary purpose of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day is to raise awareness of Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) which, according to the American Heart Association, is the most common birth defect, affecting more than 40,000 babies born in the United States each year. This number represents almost 1% of all births in the U.S., with a third of babies requiring a lifesaving treatment before their first birthday.

CHDs arise from complications early in the heart’s development, but often there is no clear cause. Genetics and environmental factors may play a role. Certain illnesses, medications, and  conditions can increase the risk of developing a CHD, but doctors do not yet have consensus on the reason children are born with heart defects.

Not all people with a CHD require treatment. Some may only need observation by a cardiologist. In other cases, surgery or a cardiac catheterization may be needed to reduce the effects of and or repair the defect. Even when a CHD is treated in childhood, further conditions may develop that would benefit from additional medical treatment.

Please consider sharing this post to help promote greater public awareness and support for individuals and families affected by CHDs. For additional information visit the American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpages on CHD.

 

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