Adult Congenital Heart Disease


Much is still unknown about the causes of congenital heart disease (CHD), and in most cases, a cause is never identified. Some heart defects have a genetic link, while others may be influenced by environmental factors—or some combination of genetic and environmental factors. The following nongenetic risk factors have been found to contribute to varying degrees to congenital heart disease:

  • Maternal smoking during pregnancy
  • Maternal obesity
  • Exposure to certain air pollutants, solvents, and pesticides
  • Low levels of maternal folic acid ingestion during pregnancy
  • Poorly controlled pre-pregnancy and gestational maternal diabetes