Tag Archives: Congenital Heart Defects

Death – the Negotiator

Negotiating with Death

I am intimately familiar with Death.

As a heart surgeon, my professional work involves a delicate dance with this deadly partner.


What is Open Heart Surgery?

Open Heart Surgery

Over the years, many have asked me this question – “What exactly is OPEN HEART surgery ?”.

“Hey, that’s easy !”, you say. “It’s an operation which is done after opening the heart, right ?”


But it’s not easy!

Let me try and explain.

I’ve told you earlier about how the heart pumps “pure” blood containing nutrients and oxygen to the entire body. This blood flow is needed for life. If the heart stops, and blood flow stops, life is not possible.

That then is the challenge – to open the heart and operate inside it. For this it is necessary to stop the heart!


CHD Support Groups

CHD Support Groups

CHD Info
An informative resource on Congenital Heart Defects with detailed articles on each form of CHD. 

Congenital Heart Disease Information and Resources 
CHIN contains a tremendous amount of information on resources concerning congenital heart disease

Adult Congenital Heart Disease Forum
Adult Congenital Heart Disease Forum is a site devoted to birth defects of the heart in adult patients.

Kids With Heart
A large CHD support organization managed by Michelle Rintamaki and with volunteers across the US.

Adult Congenital Heart Association
A new support organization for adults with CHD

Little Hearts
A New England network of families of children with CHD


What Causes Congenital Heart Defects?

causes congenital heart defects

Despite much research, in the majority of cases, Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) occur without any known cause. This is one reason the incidence has remained fairly constant at 7 to 8 cases per 1000 live births over decades, while other forms of heart disease have been declining in frequency.

We know the causes of some forms of congenital heart defects (CHD).

Environmental Insults

During pregnancy, some events are known to be associated with an increased risk for CHD.


Coarctation of the Aorta – CoA

Coarctation of the Aorta - CoA

You have read something of congenital heart defects inside the heart. Now let us consider a defect that is outside the heart itself, in one of the great arteries of the body – the aorta.

What is COARCTATION of the aorta ?

Coarctation of the aorta (CoA) is an area of localized narrowing of the large artery called the aorta. (“Coarctatio” – Latin : a drawing or pressing together). The narrowing may be caused by a “shelf” of tissue inside the blood vessel which reduces its area. Alternately, it may be caused by under-development of a portion of the aorta itself, which causes a longer area of reduced diameter.

Where does CoA occur ?

The narrowing that occurs in CoA is most commonly seen at a portion called the ISTHMUS.

But what is the isthmus ?