The Congenital Heart Defect Biology Essay


The cardiovascular system is composed of the heart and the circulatory system. Another organ that is closely associated with the cardiovascular system is the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system filters the blood and removes microorganisms like viruses and bacteria. The lymphatic fluid also assists in delivering nutrients and oxygen to cells.

Other structures of the cardiovascular system include the blood and the blood vessels. The vessels are hollow tubes that transport blood throughout the body. Arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules and veins allow the blood to travel from the heart. Microcirculation is the process through which oxygen, nutrients, carbon dioxide and some waste are exchanged between the fluids that surrounds the cells and the blood. Blood is responsible for delivering nutrients to the cell and removes wastes that are produced during cellular respiration.

The heart is responsible for pumping the blood and supplying oxygen through the vessels. Impulses produced by the heart cause it to contract and relax; this contraction and relaxation produce a heartbeat. The heart beat allows the cardiac cycle to pump blood to each part of the body. Another main function of the cardiovascular system is to take oxygen to all the parts of the body. The parts of the body use the oxygen during metabolic processes. Another function of the cardiovascular system is to remove gaseous waste products from the body. The wastes are removed by moving them to organs that will either break them down or excrete them. The cardiovascular system is also responsible for the transport of nutrients.

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The cardiovascular system is a complex system; and there are many disorders that can arise, causing failure.

Congenital Heart Defect

What is Congenital Heart Defect?

The congenital disease affects the development of the cardiovascular system. The word "congenital" signifies present at birth. There is a vast variety of conditions that go under this category. Some of them involve severe heart malformations; other defects affect the blood vessels that lead away or into the heart. Congenital heart defect arise during heart development soon after conception and sometimes even before the mother is aware that she is pregnant. This defect ranges from holes between the heart chambers to the absence of one or more valves or chambers.

A Normal Heart:


Arteries These assist in carrying the blood in a circulatory pattern.

Chambers (body, heart, lungs, heart, body)

All valves and chambers should work correctly in order to pump blood through the heart to the lungs. When the valves, arteries, veins and chambers are malformed, the blood circulation cannot take place. Therefore the blood flow slows down, be locked completely, or even go in the wrong direction. The congenital heart defect affects 1 in 100 children.

Causes of Congenital Heart Defects

Unknown cause: 

For most of the heart defect there is no exact cause. There are reasons that presume that the defects are genetic; however there are few genes that link to the presence of the defect. Therefore these defects are due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors.

Usually there is 2 to 15 % chance of heart defect to occur in the family again.

Genetic syndrome:

The persons that have congenital heart defect have a particular genetic condition. This specific condition includes other health disorders. People with this defect may not know it; and the chances for their children to inherit the condition are around 50 %. The severity of this disease varies widely on the child. Some have more serious and others have less serious health problems.

Single gene: 

The congenital heart defects are rarely caused by a single gene changes. When this is the case more than one of the persons in the family have a heart defect. Therefore the chances of having these defect is 50 %.

Environmental exposure: 

The congenital disease can be caused also by something the mother was exposed during pregnancy. The mother was exposed to either drug or an infection. Still the chances of having the heart defect do that exceed the one of an average person.

Symptoms of Congenital Heart Disease

The symptoms of the congenital defects may appear at birth, during childhood or they may not appear until adulthood. There are congenital defects that may have no symptoms.

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When the symptoms are present in adults they may experience;

Breath shortness

The ability to do exercise is limited

Infants and children:

Poor feeding

Breathing fastly

Poorness in weight gain

Lung infections

Exercise inability


How Is Congenital Heart Disease Diagnosed?

The detection of the congenital defect may be detected during checks to Cardiologist. The detections include:

Abnormal sounds of the heart

Heart murmur

The testing is furthered depending on the type of heart murmur. The testing may include:

Cardiac catheterization

X-rays on the chest


Treatment for Congenital Heart Defects

Treatment depends on how severe the defect is, the age of the child, the size and also the general health. Presently many of the children that born with this heart defect, live even through adulthood and have productive lives. There are cases where the heart defects are mild. These cases don't demand treatment.

Individuals with congenital heart defect should be dealt by a cardiologist who is specialized in this field. Often visits to the cardiologist are essential through childhood and even during adulthood.




Heart transplants

Monitored by a heart specialist lifelong ( most adults)



Interventional repair procedure

Medications to improve heart functions


Congenital heart defect affects the structure the heart structure. Congenital heart defect as the name implies is present at birth. The most common type of birth defect is congenital heart defect. The heart starts to develop after conception. While development of the heart takes place defects in the structure can occur. These structural defects can include the arteries and veins that are close to the heart; and even the valves and walls of the heart.

The congenital heart defect affects or interrupts the flow of blood into and out of the heart. These defect cause the blood flow to slow down, get to the wrong place and even be blocked completely.

The treatment for congenital heart defect involves surgery, medications and even heart transplants. The medications and treatments for these defects depend on the patient's health and the severity of the disease. Many of the congenital heart defects get to be detected and treated during infancy.

Sadly there are are rare cases in which babies with congenital heart defects are cured. Over the past 50 years there has been improvement in the medical, diagnostic and operative functions but still many of the circulations do not function in a normal way. Many of the patients that go through surgery continue to confront cardiac problems that relate to the congenital defect. Therefore after surgery they should have a medical follow up. People with previous surgeries often have to face with a life full of re operations.