Congenital heart disease
Congenital heart disease is one or more problems with the heart's structure that exist since birth. Congenital means that you're born with the condition. Congenital heart disease in adults and children can change the way blood flows through the heart.
Some types of congenital heart disease may be mild. But complex defects may cause life-threatening complications. However, advances in diagnosis and treatment continue to improve survival for those with congenital heart disease.
People with congenital heart disease need lifelong medical care. Treatment may include regular checkups (watchful waiting), medications or surgery. If you have adult congenital heart disease, ask your health care provider how often you need a checkup.
For some people, signs or symptoms of congenital heart disease aren't noticed until adulthood. Symptoms may return years after a congenital heart defect is treated.
Common congenital heart disease symptoms in adults include:
- Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
- Blue skin, lips and fingernails (cyanosis)
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired very quickly with activity
- Swelling of body tissue or organs (edema)