Little Hats, Big Hearts

little hats little heartsVolunteers for the American Heart Association are celebrating American Heart Month (February) with something beautiful they call “Little Hats, Big Hearts.” They are knitting red hats for all babies born in February at participating hospitals.

The campaign is raising awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country.

Congenital heart defects are structural problems arising from abnormal formation of the heart or major blood vessels. At least 18 distinct types of congenital heart defects are recognized, with many additional anatomic variations. Recent progress in diagnosis and treatment (surgery and heart catheterization) makes it possible to fix most defects, even those once thought to be hopeless.

If your child is born with a heart defect today, the chances are better than ever that the problem can be overcome and that a normal adult life will follow.

Courtesy of advocate_childrens_hospital

Photo courtesy of Advocate Children’s Hospital

As diagnosis and treatment continue to advance, scientists will develop better treatments for these and other defects. Your cardiologist will discuss your particular heart defect, treatment options and expected results.

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Here are some common types of heart defects:

Aortic Valve Stenosis – A valve from the heart to the body that does not properly open and close and may also leak blood. When the blood flowing out from the heart is trapped by a poorly working valve, pressure may build up inside the heart and cause damage.

Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA) – A narrowing of the major artery (the aorta) that carries blood to the body. This narrowing affects blood flow where the arteries branch out to carry blood along separate vessels to the upper and lower parts of the body. CoA can cause high blood pressure or heart damage.

Atrial Septal Defect – A “hole” in the wall that separates the top two chambers of the heart. This defect allows…