Complex congenital heart disease

What are complex congenital heart diseases?

Congenital heart defects are alterations that occur from the moment of birth and harm both the structure of the heart and its functioning, affecting the way in which blood flows through the heart and to other parts of the body, being the most common pathology. common in newborn babies (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018).


According to Sandoval (2015), these anomalies produce 3.2 million disabilities annually, becoming a public health problem, which in Latin America harms 54,000 children each year, of which only 17,000 receive care, which affects pediatric mortality at global level, as indicated by Tassinari et al. (2018), since it is estimated that 14% of these newborns do not exceed the first month and 30% die before the year.

Types of congenital heart disease:

Below are different types of complex congenital heart disease, taking into account the classification made by the CDC (2018). Those marked with a star (*) are considered critical.
  • atrial communication.
  • Atrioventricular septal defect.
  • Coarctation of the aorta.
  • Double outlet right ventricle.
  • d-Transposition of the great arteries.
  • Ebstein anomaly.
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
  • Interrupted aortic arch.
  • Pulmonary atresia.
  • Single ventricle.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot.
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return.
  • Tricuspid atresia.
  • Truncus Arteriosus.
  • ventricular septal defect.
  • Signs and symptoms.

The signs and symptoms of complex congenital heart disease depend on the type and severity of the patient's abnormality, which may have few or no symptoms. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018) highlights some warning signs that must be considered, such as a) Blue nails or lips, b) Abnormal breathing, c) Tiredness during feeding and d) Drowsiness.


The causes of these diseases are unknown in most patients, although some studies highlight changes in genes or chromosomes, environmental influences during the mother's pregnancy, such as her health conditions or the use of medications, diabetes, obesity and bad habits such as smoking ( CDC, 2018).


According to the Cardiovascular Foundation of Colombia (2019), the treatment of most of these alterations involves performing three surgeries: a) Palliative surgery, which is done in the first seven days of life and has the purpose of stabilizing the child while he manages to gain weight and improve their condition, b) Complete correction or Glenn Palliation (according to the minor's illness), which is carried out after six or nine months have passed, and c) Fontan, which is normally done with children who have only one ventricle and according to the evolution of the minor.

The time between the first and second surgeries is called the 'first interstage period' and the time between the second and third surgeries is called the 'second interstage period'.

These are periods of time in which the patient is outside the hospital environment,