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Alabama doctors discuss congenital heart defects in children

(WHNT) — Congenital heart defects, known as CHDs, are the most common types of birth defects in babies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

One in every four babies will have a congenital heart defect. Those with critical CHDs require surgery or other procedures in their first year of life.

Of those babies born with non-critical CHD, about 95% are expected to live to at least 18 years old. Dr. Waldemar F. Carlo, medical director of pediatric heart transplantation of Children’s of Alabama, says most of the congenital heart diseases that require surgery or intervention can be picked up during pregnancy at the beginning of the second trimester.

Carlo says pediatricians look out for specific signs during screenings.

“Chest pain with exercise, fainting, or near fainting with exercise, but if there are any concerns, certainly families should start with their local pediatrician and then make a determination,” Carlo told News 19.

Carlo added that having a strong family history of heart disease could also be a factor, and to make sure you talk to your pediatrician about warning signs.

While there is always a concern, Carlo says the probability of having a baby with a severe heart condition is very rare, around a tenth of a percent.

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