Increasing number of US adults living with congenital heart defects

July 5, 2016, American Heart Association

More adults are living with congenital heart defects in the United States, creating the need for more health services and tracking systems to collect data across all ages, not just at birth, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

Congenital are structural problems with the heart present at birth. They are diagnosed in eight to 10 per 1,000 live births in the United States and are the most common type of birth defect, according to researchers.

Medical and surgical advances in the last 30 years have decreased death rates and a growing number of babies are surviving to reach their adult years. Yet most patients will need lifelong cardiac care and many don't receive care as they transition to adulthood.

A new study estimates that about 2.4 million people—1.4 million adults and 1 million children—were living with these medical conditions in the United States in the year 2010. Nearly 300,000 of them had severe heart defects.

Compared with the estimates for the year 2000, these figures represent a 40 percent increase in the total number of people living with in the United States and a 63 percent increase among adults.

"This is a substantial population of adults in the United States who have survived infancy and childhood are living with congenital heart defects," said Suzanne Gilboa, Ph.D., first author of the study and an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "They need the appropriate care in order to have full and productive lives."

Although state surveillance systems in the U.S. track how many babies are born with congenital heart defects, Gilboa noted, they do not continue to track long term.

The study confirms that is a public health issue with more adults affected than children, and that's important from a and a policy standpoint, said senior study author Ariane Marelli, M.D. MPH and professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal.

"People used to think of congenital as a pediatric condition. There's really no question now that congenital heart disease falls squarely in the realm of adult medicine," she said. "We need to have more congenital heart disease programs and more manpower to meet the needs of this population."

Researchers extrapolated data from published estimates in Quebec, Canada. They assumed Quebec prevalence data on congenital heart defects was equal to similar sex and age data for the U.S. non-Hispanic whites, then adjusted to those estimates to derive rates for blacks and Hispanics. The majority of people living with congenital heart defects in the United States are non-Hispanic white, about 1.7 million, compared with non-Hispanic black or Hispanic, about 700,000.

This current report is the first contemporary assessment of the number of people living with congenital heart defects in the United States based on factors such as age, sex and ethnicity.

Explore further: Adults born with heart defects have a substantially higher risk of stroke

Related Stories

Adults born with heart defects have a substantially higher risk of stroke

November 23, 2015
Adults with congenital heart defects have substantially higher rates of stroke compared to the general population, according to research published in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation.

Preeclampsia associated with increased risk of heart defects in infants

October 20, 2015
An analysis of more than 1.9 million mother and infant pairs finds that preeclampsia was significantly associated with noncritical heart defects in offspring, and preeclampsia with onset before 34 weeks was associated with ...

Pregnant women with congenital heart disease may have low complication risks during delivery

November 18, 2014
Pregnant women with congenital heart disease had very low risks of arrhythmias (irregular heart beat) or other heart-related complications during labor and delivery, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's ...

Adults born with heart disease at increased risk of heart attack and death

November 9, 2015
A study of adults up to age 70 shows a dramatically increased risk of heart attack in those who were born with heart disease.

Pulse oximetry screenings save lives of babies with congenital heart defects

November 17, 2014
Screening for congenital heart defects with pulse oximetry identified newborn babies with previously unsuspected critical congenital heart defects (CCHD), according to research presented at the American Heart Association's ...

Recommended for you

Study examines the rise of plaque in arteries

May 25, 2018
The accumulation of cholesterol plaques in artery walls can lead to atherosclerosis, or the hardening of arteries that contributes to heart attacks and strokes. In a new study, Yale researchers investigate how plaque cells ...

Low-dose aspirin could help pregnant women with high blood pressure avoid a dangerous condition

May 25, 2018
A daily dose of aspirin could help pregnant women in the first stage of high blood pressure avoid a condition that puts both mother and baby in danger, according to a new study.

Study shows in-home therapy effective for stroke rehabilitation

May 24, 2018
In-home rehabilitation, using a telehealth system and supervised by licensed occupational/physical therapists, is an effective means of improving arm motor status in stroke survivors, according to findings presented by University ...

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

May 23, 2018
An operation that targets the nerves connected to the kidney has been found to significantly reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension, according to the results of a clinical trial led in the UK by Queen Mary University ...

New guidelines mean 1 in 3 adults may need blood pressure meds

May 23, 2018
(HealthDay)—One out of every three U.S. adults has high blood pressure that should be treated with medication, under guidelines recently adopted by the two leading heart health associations.

To have or not to have... your left atrial appendage closed

May 22, 2018
Each year in the U.S., more than 300,000 people have heart surgery. To reduce risk of stroke for their patients, surgeons often will close the left atrial appendage, which is a small sac in the left side of the heart where ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.