Causes of congenital heart defects
Causes are thought to include:
Development problems during pregnancy, sometimes as a result of a viral infection such as rubella contracted by the mother
Alcohol, illegal drugs and over-the-counter medicines can also cause defects
Genetic conditions, such as Down’s syndrome
Diagnosing congenital heart defects
Diagnosis can be made by scans taken during pregnancy, but is usually made in the first days or weeks after birth. In some cases, however, diagnosis may not be made until much later in life.