Congenital Heart Disease and Kidney Failure

CHD, or congenital heart disease, is the number one birth defect in the United States and around the globe and the number one cause of infant mortality in the United States. 50% of all children and adults with complex CHD have developmental disabilities and neurological complications. In addition, observational studies show that many people that suffer from chronic kidney disease also suffer from CHD. In fact, there has been significant clinical data gathered to show the correlation of cardiac disease and acute or chronic kidney failure. The discovery of the gene for CHD may help scientists to discover more effective ways to treat and even cure some types of renal failure.

Causes and Symptoms

Only around 20% of CHD cases can be linked to a predisposing cause, however, the discovery of the gene may give the medical research community insight on the causes of the remaining percentage of cases. The known causes can be chromosomal in nature or a single gene defect. Various heart defects fall under the term congenital heart disease causing the treatments to vary widely. The severity can be mild to severe and many infants born with CHD die before their first birthday. Diagnosing the defect prenatally can by ultrasound can lead to much earlier treatment and a better chance of surviving through to adulthood. Some of the symptoms of possible

CHD in infants and children include but are not limited to;

  • An inability to exercise or play vigorously
  • Recurrent lung infections
  • Poor weight gain
  • Poor feeding
  • Respiratory distress
  • Cyanosis, characterized by a bluish tint to skin, fingernails, and lips
  • While these symptoms can and often do indicate CHD, they can also be symptoms of
  • other diseases as well.


Chronic Kidney Disease

A person that suffers with CHD often has problems with chronic kidney disease as well. The kidney has numerous blood vessels essential to a healthy working kidney. Kidneys need a healthy heart to work properly and many symptoms of CHD cause damage to the kidneys. Researchers have found that the two conditions often co-exist in the same person. Either condition can complicate the other. Keeping the kidneys as healthy as possible can diminish the effect of CHD and vice versa. Kidney vitamins and kidney supplements are vital to the health of the organ. In addition, although vitamin supplements are not normally needed for a healthy adult who eats a balanced diet, the kidney patient requires certain supplements. The survival rate of infants born with congenital heart defects has vastly increased due to the improved diagnosis and treatment over the last few decades. In fact, nearly all survive to adulthood and live productive and active lives with proper treatment and early diagnosis. An important part of treatment CHD is ensuring a patients kidneys are functioning well.