How are congenital heart defects grouped together?

Congenital heart defects are either cyanotic or acyanotic.

Cyanotic heart defects

Cyanotic heart defects are defects that allow oxygen-rich blood and oxygen-poor blood to mix.

In cyanotic heart defects, less oxygen-rich blood reaches the tissues of the body. This results in the development of a bluish tint—cyanosis—to the skin, lips, and nail beds.

Cyanotic heart defects include:

Acyanotic heart defects

Congenital heart defects that do not normally interfere with the amount of oxygen or blood that reaches the tissues of the body are called acyanotic heart defects. A bluish tint of the skin is not common in babies with acyanotic heart defects, although it may occur. If a bluish tint develops, it often is during activities when the baby needs more oxygen, such as when crying and feeding.

Acyanotic congenital heart defects include:

Last Updated: October 12, 2009

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