The American Heart Association recently published a statement indicating that children with more severe congenital heart defects ICHDs) are at higher risk for neurodevelopmental issues.

What are Neurodevelopmental Issues?

Neurodevelopmental issues are issues with a child’s development and learning. In simple terms, this means that kids with some forms of CHD (usually those that require surgery and regular follow-ups) may not meet milestones, or goals, for development at the same time or be able to learn at the same level as their healthy peers. These children may also have behavioral issues such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) more often than other children their age.

Not all children with CHD will have issues with development and learning, Children who do often adjust very well and do not appear any different from their peers.

You can learn more about neurodevelopmental issues in children who have CHD on this page or in the resources below.


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  • Neurodevelopmental Issues for Children with CHD


What Causes Neurodevelopmental Issues?

There is growing evidence showing that there are changes in blood flow in babies with some forms of CHD before the baby is born that affect the brain and therefore brain development. Also, some children born with CHD have genetic factors that impact brain development. Finally, heart surgeries and other medical procedures can affect blood flow and may lead to changes in the way the brain develops. These changes can be subtle. As a result of these changes, children may reach developmental milestones at different times or have differences in learning and attention as they get older.

Learn About Neurodevelopment Issues in Children with CHD






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