Fact Sheets

How common are congenital heart defects?

  • Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defects. Nearly one of every 100 babies is born with a CHD.
  • Each year approximately 40,000 babies are born in the United States with a congenital heart defect. (Source: CHPHC)
  • Approximately two to three million individuals are thought to be living in the United States with CHDs. Because there is no U.S. system to track CHDs beyond early childhood, more precise estimates are not available. (Source: CHPHC)

What is the health impact of congenital heart defects?

  • CHDs are the most common cause of infant death due to birth defects. (Source: CHPHC)
  • An approximate 100-200 deaths are due to unrecognized heart disease in newborns each year. These numbers exclude those dying before diagnosis. (Source: CHPHC)
  • Approximately 25% of children born with a CHD will need heart surgery or other interventions to survive. (Source: CHPHC)
  • People with CHDs face a life-long risk of health problems such as issues with growth and eating, developmental delays, difficulty with exercise, heart rhythm problems, heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest or stroke. (Source: CHPHC)

What has CHF done to help the CHD community?

  • The Children’s Heart Foundation is the leading national organization that was created to exclusively fund congenital heart defect research.
  • The Children’s Heart Foundation has funded over $7.4 million to 62 basic science, translational and clinical CHD research projects at leading research centers across the US and Canada.
  • CHF has published and distributed 35,000 English and 3,000 Spanish copies of It’s My Heart, a patient and parent resource book.
  • CHF has Chapters, events and volunteers in many US states supporting the CHF mission locally.

What is the impact of CHD research?

  • Today, more infants with CHDs survive to adulthood because of advancements made through research.
  • Despite the progress made in understanding and treating CHDs, more work is needed to determine the cause and best treatment options.
  • Congenital heart defects are common and can be deadly, yet CHD research is grossly under-funded relative to the prevalence of the disease.
  • The NHLBI has stated that Congenital Heart Defects are a serious and underappreciated global health problem.