There are a variety of Congenital Heart Conditions. They can be due to wrong connections of major blood vessels coming out of the heart, abnormal openings between different parts of the heart (shunts), or blockage of normal blood pathways (stenosis).
Babies with Congenital Heart Conditions may be sick soon after birth, appearing blue around the lips due to inadequate blood oxygenation, or due to poor heart function. Others may appear well and may only be diagnosed during the doctor's physical checks. The most frequent sign is a heart murmur (extra sound heard using the stethoscope) detected by the doctor in the nursery, or at a routine check at about one month of age.
Some parents may already know that their baby has a Congenital Heart Condition, as they have been diagnosed by ultrasound during pregnancy. These babies will be attended to at birth by the attending doctor and referred to the paediatric cardiologist after stabilisation.
More serious conditions will require special medications, breathing support and urgent referral to cardiothoracic surgeons.