Cyanotic Heart Disease: Overview

What is cyanotic heart disease?

If your child has cyanotic heart disease, he or she may not have enough oxygen in the blood circulating from the lungs to other tissues of the body.

With cyanotic heart disease, there is mixing of blue blood (blood already used by the body) with red blood (oxygen-rich blood from the lungs). This mixing, sometimes called a right-to-left cardiac shunt, can be caused by a hole in the heart or by the presence of an abnormal blood vessel. This is known as cyanosis.

Some types of cyanotic heart defects include:

Who is at risk for cyanotic heart disease?

Typically, cyanotic heart disease is present at birth. It can be seen more in families with a history of congenital heart disease, may be present in association with some genetic syndromes (such as Turner syndrome or Marfan syndrome), may occur with certain environmental exposures in utero, or may occur sporadically.

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