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What is the life expectancy of a baby with a congenital heart defect?

As medical care and treatments have advanced, infants with a congenital heart defect are living longer and healthier lives. Many now are living into adulthood. About one million adults in the United States are living with a congenital heart defect. It is important for children and adults living with a congenital heart defect to see a heart doctor regularly throughout their lives.

The life expectancy of a baby with a congenital heart defect depends on the baby’s specific defect, as well as whether or not there are any other associated birth defects or chromosomal abnormalities. Not enough time as elapsed since complex open-heart surgery began in the 1950s to see if children who had those surgeries early in life will live to the age of 70 or 80, for example. That said, babies with straightforward cardiac defects like holes in the heart that are repaired early in life should have the life expectancy of normal, healthy people who did not have heart surgery. The treatment of most heart defects with modern surgery, medicine and technology has come a long way. Even babies born with severe congenital defects can have a good quality of life and survive for decades.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.