Heart problems related to Down syndrome

About half of babies born with Down syndrome have some type of heart defect.1 Signs of heart problems may include poor eating and lack of growth, rapid breathing, and a bluish color to the lips, fingernails, and skin.

The most common heart defects in people with Down syndrome include:

Most of these conditions can be detected and treated at birth or soon after, giving a child a much better long-term health outlook.

Some heart problems develop later in life. For example, mitral valve prolapse appears to develop around adolescence. People who develop serious problems, such as heart failure, usually need close monitoring and long-term medical care.

Down syndrome does not raise a person's risk of getting coronary artery disease.

Citations

  1. Elias ER, et al. (2009). Chromosomal disorders: Trisomies section of Genetics and dysmorphology. In WW Hay et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Pediatrics, 19th ed., pp. 999–1002. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Last Updated: August 4, 2009

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