Skip to Content

Congenital Heart Defect Types

Topic Overview

There are many types of congenital heart defects. If the defect lowers the amount of oxygen in the body, it is called cyanotic. If the defect doesn't affect oxygen in the body, it is called acyanotic.

What are 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:

What are acyanotic heart defects?

Congenital heart defects that don't 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 isn't common in babies with acyanotic heart defects, although it may occur. If a bluish tint occurs, it often is during activities when the baby needs more oxygen, such as when crying and feeding.

Acyanotic congenital heart defects include:

What are not considered defects?

A small hole in the heart, called a patent foramen ovale, is not considered a heart defect. It happens in many healthy people. But typically it doesn't need treatment.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Larry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology
Last Revised September 6, 2013

Last Revised: September 6, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Also in this Section