Congenital heart diseases (CHD) are abnormalities of the heart that are present from birth.
There are many types of CHD. Most CHDs are developmental and occur when the heart does not form correctly during the early stages of pregnancy. Some conditions are fairly simple and are unlikely to result in long-term health problems. Other conditions are more complex, requiring multiple operations and having a life-long impact on health.
Around one in every 100 children born in the UK has a congenital or acquired heart condition, so most schools will have at least one affected pupil.
There is no reason to feel anxious or alarmed if one of your pupils has CHD. Having a heart condition does not mean that a child is in any danger. Most people born with CHD go on to lead a full, happy and healthy life, with few long-term problems. If a child’s doctors considered that they were in any immediate danger they would not be allowed to attend school.
In most school situations children with a CHD should be treated the same as any other pupil. However, there are some important exceptions that you should be aware of. These are discussed throughout this section of the website.