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ABOUT CONGENITAL HEART DEFECTS
● Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are problems present at birth that affect the structure and function of the heart. There are many types of CHDs, which can affect the lining, blood vessels, chambers, and valves of the heart.
● CHDs are the #1 birth defect in the United States, affecting nearly 1 in every 110 babies born, equivalent to a baby born about every 15 minutes and approximately 40,000 each year in the U.S. alone.
● CHDs are the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths.
● Approximately 25% of children born with a CHD will need heart surgery or other interventions to survive.
● Surgery can help to repair some defects, but many individuals with CHDs require additional operation(s) and/or medication.
● Though 85% of babies born with a CHD now live to at least age 18, children born with more critical forms of CHDs are less likely to reach adulthood.
● CHD patients may face lifelong health problems including growth and eating issues, developmental delays, difficulty with exercise, heart rhythm problems, heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest, or stroke. About 20% to 30% of individuals with CHD have other birth defects or genetic disorders.
ABOUT THE CHILDREN’S HEART FOUNDATION
● Founded in 1996, The Children’s Heart Foundation is the nation’s leading organization solely dedicated to CHD funding, and our Congenital Heart Walk series is our primary fundraising platform.
● Our mission is to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of congenital heart defects by funding the most promising research.
● Since 1996, the Foundation has funded $15 million in CHD research and scientific collaboration, including 130 research projects. Our research funding spans independently-funded research grants, joint-funding with the American Heart Association, multi-network data sharing and benchmarking with Cardiac Networks United, and CHD research fellowship with the American Academy of Pediatrics.
● Funded research has significantly increased survival, longevity and quality of life for CHD patients. Because of funded research, there are now estimated to be between 2 and 3 million Americans living with CHDs, living longer, happier and healthier lives.
● Increased survival rates and longevity have increased the importance of research for CHD patients, as they tackle new challenges. Critical areas of investigation include diagnostics, prevention, interventional care, less invasive surgeries, transitional care, developmental, mental health, and cognitive assessments and interventions, and long term care for adults with congenital heart defects.
● The Children’s Heart Foundation fosters cross-institutional collaboration between investigators and data-sharing initiatives that will help to maximize resources, sample sizes and efforts, and help accelerate progress in the fight against congenital heart defects.