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Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are problems present at birth that affect the structure and function of the heart. There are many types of CHDs, which can affect the lining, blood vessels, chambers, and valves of the heart. Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are the #1 birth defect in the United States. Nearly 1 in 100 babies – a baby born every 15 minutes - or 40,000 each year in the U.S. alone, are born with heart defects.
  • CHDs are the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths.
  • Approximately 25% of children born with a CHD will need heart surgery or other interventions to survive.
  • Between 2 and 3 million Americans are living with CHDs.  
  • Surgery can help to repair some defects, but many individuals with CHDs require additional operation(s) and/or medications as adults.
  • Though 85% of babies born with a CHD now live to at least age 18, children born with more critical forms of CHDs are less likely to reach adulthood.
  • There is no cure for CHDs.
  • CHD patients may face lifelong health problems including growth and eating issues, developmental delays, difficulty with exercise, heart rhythm problems, heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest or stroke. About 20% to 30% of persons with CHD have other birth defects or genetic disorders.
Since 1996, The Children’s Heart Foundation has funded more than $11.1 million in CHD research across 103 research projects, leading to critical breakthroughs including improved diagnostics, earlier interventions, groundbreaking procedures and life-saving treatments. CHF funds research both independently and jointly through its partnership with the American Heart Association. Because of research, death rates from CHDs in the U.S. have declined by 37.5% since 1999
The Congenital Heart Walk series is the largest walk series solely dedicated to CHD research, uniting supporters of The Children’s Heart Foundation from around the country, to help fund CHD research that improves survival, longevity and quality of life for our community. In 2019, 20 nationwide Congenital Heart Walk events are planned, and expected to draw over 15,000 participants raising funds for congenital heart defect research.
For information about The Children’s Heart Foundation, the Congenital Heart Walk series, or congenital heart defects, or for data, event photographs, permission to use our logos, other resources, or to speak with our staff, please contact us at