Congenital Heart Disease is the world’s most common birth defect. Approximately 40,000 babies are born with CHD in the United States alone. Every. Year. That’s over 1.35 million cases worldwide annually. Not only is CHD the most common birth defect, but it’s also the most common cause of birth defect-related infant mortality. This is so commonly occurring, it is a clear sign we need CHD research.
About 25% of children diagnosed with CHD will need some type of life-saving, invasive heart surgery before their first birthday to survive. One in every 10 children diagnosed with CHD will not live to reach adulthood. CHD is killing children at an alarming rate and it’s time to do something about it.
YES. Were you expecting that answer? How can something that is present at birth be cured? CHD Research. Surgeries exist for almost all types of CHD. These “repairs,” however, are not a cure. The surgeries offer a somewhat normal life for individuals with more minor heart defects. They will always need specialized follow up care, but usually no major complications occur. For the 25% of children who have more complex heart defects their future is more of a question mark.
More severe heart defects have palliative surgeries available. Essentially, surgeries that usually ensure survival in the short term, but these individuals will need more interventions to have a hope for a full life. So then, how can CHD be cured?
What about heart transplant? That’s a cure! Right? NOPE. Heart transplant comes with a slew of side effects and is certainly not a cure. Organs are in very short supply. A person may wait 6 months or longer for a match of a heart. Even after a heart transplant, organ rejection is a significant concern. Anti-rejection medicines must be taken religiously to lower the immune system and hopefully avoid rejection. A lower immune system puts an organ recipient at higher risk for illness and even cancer.
Project Heart is a nonprofit CHD research and innovation organization. Our sole mission is to create a path that funds and advances the research needed to grow a healthy heart using a patient’s own DNA. If we use a patient’s own cells to grow a heart, that heart can be transplanted for a cure. No rejection. No waiting on a donor list. A life cut short by a failing heart, no more.
Cure is a bold statement for CHD and we’re here to stand beside it. What to learn more? Check out our blog on curing CHD for good.