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Genetics can play a role in congenital (present at birth) heart disease. If you or your family has a history of congenital heart defects, your risk of having a child born with a heart issue is higher.
It’s common to wonder why a child is born with a congenital heart condition and whether it will happen again in the family. If you have congenital heart disease, you may wonder about the chance of passing it along to your child.
Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, offers genetic testing and counseling before, during and after pregnancy that can provide you with detailed information about the chance of your children having congenital heart disease. Our counselors can give you information and address questions you may have about starting a family.
If you or your family has a history of heart defects, the risk generally increases from about 1% to 3 to 5%. In some rare conditions, the risk is 50% if one parent has the defect.
To determine the likelihood that a congenital heart defect will repeat in a family, genetic testing and counseling may involve the following steps:
Genetic testing and counseling also are useful if others in your family have heart defects or any other kind of birth defect.