Study highlights child heart defect success story

A new study published in The Lancet estimates 20-year survival rates for groups of people with a range of different types of congenital abnormalities.

Congenital heart disease - an abnormality of in the heart’s structure present from birth - is one of the most common forms of birth defect, affecting around one in 145 births in the UK – or 4,600 babies every year (2). Many will need specialist medical treatment or surgery to survive.

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the BHF, said: "This research shows that efforts, many of them funded by the British Heart Foundation, to improve diagnosis and treatment of children with congenital heart disease have paid off.

"Fifty years ago most babies born with a complex congenital heart condition would die before their first birthday (3). Today, thanks to advances in treatment and care, most babies with congenital heart disease will grow up to be adults (4). But the story doesn't end there.

"Because children with congenital heart disease can now be expected to live into adulthood, the NHS must now follow the BHF's lead in ensuring that specialist services in grown up congenital heart disease are adequately resourced."

Read more about BHF-funded research successes into Congenital Heart Disease

For more information visit our section on Congenital Heart Disease

Press enquiries

For more on this release please call the BHF press office on 0207 554 0164 or 07764 290 381 (out of hours) or email newsdesk@bhf.org.uk

(1) Statement issued in response to ‘20-year survival of children born with congenital anomalies: a population-based study’ by Peter W G Tennant, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University. Published online by The Lancet January 20, 2010 DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61922-X

(2) BHF Congenital Heart Disease Statistics (2001-2003), www.heartstats.org, Table 1.1

(3) BHF Congenital Heart Disease Statistics (2001-2003), www.heartstats.org, Table 1.3

(4) Nieminen HP et al. Circulation. 2001 104:570-575 and personal communication with Professor John Deanfield, Chair of the European Society of Cardiology’s Task Force on the Management of Grown Up Congenital Heart Disease.