Submitted by Barb Kohler.
February is known for – Black History Month, American Heart Month (wear red for women’s heart health), President’s Day, and, of course, Valentine’s Day. In addition, Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Week is observed annually February 7-14.
Congenital heart diseases (congenital heart defects CHDs) are birth defects that affect the structure of a baby’s heart and the way it works. These defects are the leading birth abnormalities that cause death in both infants and adults. There are many types of congenital heart defects. The most common defects involve the inside walls of the heart, the valves of the heart, or the large blood vessels that carry the blood to and from the heart. Some defects are simple and require no treatment while others are critical and require treatment, or open heart surgery, soon after birth. 1% pf births per year are affected by CHDs. It’s important to increase awareness given the impact on mortality.
1858 – Thomas Beville Peacock, physician at London’s St. Thomas Hospital, conducted a detailed written study on heart abnormalities, conducted extensive research and was able to classify CHDs into four categories. He also discussed the causes of CHDs proposing most forms to be caused during the developmental stage of the embryo.
1947 – Cardiologist John Maurice Campbell, member of the Cardiac Society of Great Britain and Ireland hosted an event where the first shunt procedures for CHDs were performed.
2011 – Introduction of pulse oximetry screening (measuring oxygen levels of blood) for critical heart conditions in New Jersey made significant studies as recommended by the Health Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Heritable Disorders in Newborns.
Over the last few years, the diagnosis and treatment of CHDs has greatly improved. There are better options for treatment such as surgery procedures and medicines. Presently, many children and adults are living with or have recovered from their heart defects, I continue to spread awareness of and support for those affected by congenital heart defects during this week. I do this for my youngest grandson who is a miracle heart warrior approaching his 5th birthday!