CHD Facts and Stats

How common is CHD?

1 in 100 babies is born with CHD. 1

That’s approximately 40,000 babies each year in the U.S. 2

And 1.35 million babies born with CHD worldwide – every year 3

There are about 2-3 million adults and children living with CHD in the U.S. right now 4

CHD is the most common birth defect. 1

Just for some perspective: Down Syndrome affects 1 in 800, Cystic Fibrosis affects 1 in 3,000, and childhood cancer affects 1 in 6,250 children and teens. All of these are worthy causes that need funding, however, this comparison shows the significant number of people affected by CHD is much higher than several other conditions that have more public awareness. 2

Is CHD genetic?

Approximately 85-90% of CHDs have no known cause or origin.

If you have a child with CHD whose CHD is not known to be genetic, in most cases, your risk of having a second child with CHD is only increased by 2-3%. 6

Intervention and Care

About 25% of children born with CHD will need at least 1 life-saving surgery or intervention before their first birthday. 1

About 50% of adults who have had cardiac surgery due to CHD have had at least 2 or more surgeries in their lifetime. 2

CHD is a chronic condition that requires lifelong care. Surgery is not a cure.

It is estimated that less than 10% of adults with CHD seek the recommended care from an Adult Congenital Heart Disease specialist. 4

For the first time in history there are more adults than children living with CHD thanks to improved treatment and care. 5


CHD is the most common cause of birth defect-related infant death. 1

1 in 10 children diagnosed with CHD will not live to adulthood. 4

In the U.S., twice as many children die from CHD each year than all forms of childhood cancer combined, yet pediatric cancer research is 5x higher. 7

95% of children born with non-critical CHDs are expected to survive to adulthood, however, only 69% of children born with complex CHDs survive to adulthood. 1

In the last decade, survival rates for congenital heart defects have increased by almost 30% thanks to continued research and innovative treatment options. 8

Other Facts

It is estimated that approximately 200-300 babies each year are discharged from the hospital with an undiagnosed CHD. 2

CHD is 60 times more prevalent than all forms of childhood cancer combined. 8

The most common type of CHD is a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) or a hole between the two lower pumping chambers of the heart. 1

Download Fact Sheet 

(1) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

(2) Congenital Heart Public Health Consortium (CHPHC)

(3) Journal of the American College of Cardiology (J Am Coll Cardiology)

(4) The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA)

(5) American College of Cardiology (ACC)

(6) British Heart Foundation (BHF)

(7) American Heart Association (AHA)

(8) Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)