Congenital Defect

What is a Congenital Defect? Heart Defect and Other Conditions

A congenital defect is a condition that a baby is born with or that develops during the first month the child is alive. Often, the congenital defect is a heart defect, although there are other congenital disorders that may also develop in infants.

Congenital defects are generally categorized as structural defects, as opposed to functional defects. This means they occur because a part of the body is not properly formed while the mother carries the child. Some potential reasons that a congenital defect may develop include genetic abnormalities, conditions in the uterus caused by things like diet or medication, or infections a mother contracts while pregnant.

Congenital Defect Types

A child may develop a wide variety of congenital defects.  Some, such as gastroschisis and omphalocele, involve hernias. With these conditions, organs or intestines protrude from the abdomen or pass through openings at the umbilical cord. Children who have too many chromosomes can also develop congenital problems, including being born with too many fingers or toes, or exhibiting severe problems such as mental retardation.

The most common type of congenital defect, however, is a heart defect.  In fact, some estimates indicate that one out of every 150 US babies is born with a congenital heart defect.

Heart Defect Types

The development of an infant’s heart begins shortly after the baby is conceived. Unfortunately, because of genetics or external factors, sometimes problems can occur with the development of the heart that can result in blood flow issues after birth. Some examples of common congenital heart defects include:

  • Aortic Stenosis: Babies born with this congenital defect have a stiff and narrow aortic valve, which makes it harder for blood to get to the heart. Some are born with a leaky valve that doesn’t close properly.
  • Atrial Septal Defect: An infant with this heart defect has a hole between the left and right atrium of the heart.
  • Aorta Coarctation: With his congenital defect, the baby is born with a narrow aorta, also making it difficult for blood to access the heart.
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome: This heart defect occurs when a baby’s heart doesn’t finish developing, so it can’t successfully move blood throughout the body.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot: A tetralogy of fallot means that the infant actually has four problems with the heart including a hole between the ventricles, blockage between the heart’s right ventricle and the pulmonary artery, a misplaced main blood vessel and abnormally thick walls in the heart’s right chamber.

A heart defect may sometimes be minor and may not even be diagnosed immediately, or it can be life-threatening.

Getting Legal Help for Congenital Defects

Although a congenital defect or heart defect may simply happen by chance, in some cases it may be caused or exacerbated by a medical product, defective drug or medical negligence. If you or a loved one has been affected by a congenital defect resulting from a careless doctor or a dangerous product, contact one of Chaffin Luhana LLP’s experienced birth defect attorneys at 1-888-480-1123 immediately for a free and confidential case review today. You may be entitled to compensation, and the lawyers at Chaffin Luhana can help.