Congenital Heart Disease


Congenital heart disease is a heart defect that occurs during the formation of the heart in uterus. It could be fatal (i.e. causes intrauterine death, or death at anytime afterwards).

It is an important cause of perinatal morbidity/mortality.

Classified as

  1. Cyanotic
  2. Acyanotic

Clinical features

Will depend on the type of the defect.

Mild defects go unnoticed

  1. Stunted growth
  2. Cyanosis
  3. Failure to thrive
  4. Heart murmurs

Differential diagnoses

  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Endomyocardial fibrosis


  • Embolic phenomena
  • Cardiac failure


  • Full Blood Count and differentials
  • Urea, Electrolytes and Creatinine
  • Chest radiograph
  • Electrocardiograhy
  • Foetal echocardiography.
  • Angiography

Treatment objectives

  • Relieve symptoms
  • Treat the definitive defect(s)

Non-drug treatment

  • Low salt diet

Drug treatment

  • Treatment of cardiac failure if present
  • Digoxin, diuretics and potassium supplements

Supportive measures

  • Oxygen
  • Counselling


  • Pre-conception nutrition education
  • Antenatal care
  • Genetic counselling

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