The Child With Heart Disease2023-05-30T14:41:33-04:00


  • 1 in 100 children is born with a congenital heart disease requiring medical attention.

  • 1 in 200 children will develop heart disease before the end of their teenage years.

  • Overall, more than 1 in 80 children have heart disease.

  • Heart defects are 10 times more common than the second most common disease in children.

  • Heart disease is the most common defect and the one that causes the most death in children.

Unlike other illnesses affecting children, heart disease is invisible to the naked eye. There are over 200 known types of heart defects ranging from:

  • abnormal communication between the left and right parts of the heart;

  • incomplete development of one of the valves of the heart or of a heart chamber;

  • abnormal connection of large arteries or large veins.

Most children with heart disease will never need major surgery. In some cases, the defect corrects itself spontaneously, and in others, surgery or catheterization is required.


The publicity that surrounds heart disease highlights the conditions affecting the adult heart. Adult heart disease usually occurs around age 50 and is often acquired as a result of stress, smoking, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, or a combination of these.

However, the children of En Cœur are born with their defect and will be affected by it all their lives.

Part of pediatric cardiology also aims to prevent heart disease in adults. It is possible to detect from childhood patients who will later develop coronary problems and arteriosclerosis.



Until recently, it was estimated that 1 in 4 children with a serious heart disease would not reach adulthood.

However, in recent years, medicine has significantly progressed. Indeed, for the diagnosis of the defect itself, it is no longer necessary, for example, to introduce probes into the heart and use X-rays to detect a malformation. With the help of ultrasound imaging (echocardiogram), it is now possible in more than 95% of cases to make an exact diagnosis.

Treatment has also considerably improved since about 40% of heart defects can now be treated without surgery.

One of the methods of treatment used, interventional catheterization, is practised by introducing instruments into the veins and arteries that dilate, obstruct or sever abnormal structures. Cardiac surgery, for its part, makes it possible to operate on newborns and infants.

In Quebec, more than 400 heart surgeries are performed annually, and the success rate is 97%.

Over time, the number of children undergoing heart surgery has increased and many of them have become adults. Nevertheless, overall, the diagnosis of a heart disease in a child carries a serious prognosis. For the most part, children with heart disease, even those who undergo surgery, will require medical monitoring for the rest of their lives. Over the years, En Cœur continues to honour its mission by ensuring that no child with heart disease is left to fend for themselves.


Much appreciated by parents, but also by the various stakeholders in the hospital environment, information leaflets on certain aspects of pediatric cardiology (diseases and drugs) are distributed by En Cœur. These leaflets are available in the cardiology departments of the various hospitals to be given to the families concerned. This is one of the countless services offered by En Cœur.

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