Congenital Heart Disease: The enigma of non-communicable diseases

• By Dr Fenny Shidhika

Congenital represents the structural defects that are present from birth. Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is an umbrella term used to denote structural and functional defects of the heart and the great vessels entering and/or exiting the heart.

The causes are entirely genetic, involving a myriad of interacting complex processes. The role of the environment in its pathogenesis has become apparent through varying entangled mechanisms termed under the ’epigenetics’ collective.

Commonly, the diagnoses are made after birth. It is however critical that the diagnoses are made during pregnancy so that condition-tailored care packages can be prescribed on individual merits. This is not always feasible.

Nevertheless, all expectant mothers should be booked for routine antenatal checks so that at-risk pregnancies can be identified and referred accordingly.

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