Heart defects are among the most common birth defects, and are the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths. However, advances in diagnosis and surgical treatment over the past 40 years have led to dramatic increases in survival for those with serious heart defects.
Congenital heart defects can affect any of the parts or functions of the heart. A condition is called congenital when it is present at birth. Heart defects originate in the early part of pregnancy when the heart is forming.