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There are many types of congenital heart defects. If the defect lowers the amount of oxygen in the body, it is called cyanotic. If the defect doesn't affect oxygen in the body, it is called acyanotic.
Cyanotic heart defects are defects that allow oxygen-rich blood and
oxygen-poor blood to mix.
In cyanotic heart defects, less oxygen-rich blood reaches the tissues
of the body. This results in the development of a bluish tint—cyanosis—to the
skin, lips, and nail beds.
Cyanotic heart defects include:
Congenital heart defects that don't normally interfere with the
amount of oxygen or blood that reaches the tissues of the body are called
acyanotic heart defects. A bluish tint of the skin isn't common in babies with
acyanotic heart defects, although it may occur. If a bluish tint occurs, it
often is during activities when the baby needs more oxygen, such as when crying
Acyanotic congenital heart defects include:
A small hole in the heart, called a patent foramen ovale, is not considered a heart defect. It happens in many healthy people. But typically it doesn't need treatment.
Other Works Consulted
Webb GD, et al. (2015) Congenital heart disease. In DL Mann et al., eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 10th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1391–1445. Philadelphia: Saunders.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - PediatricsMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerLarry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology
Current as ofApril 20, 2016
Current as of:
April 20, 2016
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Larry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology
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