Did you know that 1 in every 100 babies is born with a heart defect? Did you know that 50% of them are at risk of death if their defect is not surgically corrected? How about that Congenital Heart Disease is the NUMBER ONE MOST COMMON BIRTH DEFECT? It is also the number one cause of infant mortality. You'd think that would be more widely known and publicized, but it isn't. Most people think of other defects when they are asked about the most common.
Because Congenital Heart Disease (or Defects as it was previously known) has so many different ways to manifest itself, many people don't put it all together.Nationwide Children's Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio, is where I have been treated for my Congenital Heart Disease since it was found when I was six weeks old. Below is their infographic. They have done so much for me, I love to spotlight them when I can. (Click the infographic to go to their site where it's larger)
I was one of those that was almost lost in the transition from pediatric to adult care. The ACHD staff was able to save my life and help me get onto a road of living with my CHD in a way that would keep me on the healthy end of the spectrum, well as healthy as one can be with Congestive Heart Failure anyway.
I am lucky enough to be with one of the only children's hospitals in the US to allow treatment of adults with CHD. This is very important because the continuity of care can sometimes be the difference in catching something small before it becomes a big issue and severe complications that could lead to death. Nationwide Children's Hospital also works with The Ohio State University to ensure the best care for their ACHD patients. They are also the only program in the MidWest that is training other cardiologists in ACHD care. The other cardiologists can then go to other regions of the country where there is a lack of ACHD clinics or ACHD care in general and start an ACHD program.
You see in the infographic above that there are over 1.5 million adults in the US living with CHD. A sad statistic, verified by achaheart.org, is that less than 10% of those 1.5 million are receiving the specialized care that they need. Most were lost in the childhood to adulthood transition. There is no cure for CHD. You need lifelong treatment.
Learn more about ACHD myths HERE.
Happy Heart Month!