Facts about CHD

  • Congenital heart disease is the biggest killer of Australian kids under one
  • Every day in Australia six babies are born with a heart defect.  That’s over 2,200 each year.
  • Every week, four precious lives are lost.
  • There is no known cure or prevention. Once a Heartkid, always a Heartkid.
  • It’s estimated that 32,000 children (under 18 years of age) are currently living with CHD in Australia
  • Some children acquire heart conditions during childhood, e.g. cardiomyopathy, Kawasaki disease (- 200 p.a *) or as a result of rheumatic fever
  • A disproportionate number of indigenous children suffer from acquired heart disease – often as a result of rheumatic fever, which is prevalent in many communities.
  • Up to 20% of heart defects are gene-linked abnormalities. They have nothing to do with diet. These children have congenital heart disease – not coronary, which is what most adult heart patients have.
  • Approx half of the children diagnosed with heart disease require surgery to correct the defect,
  • Australia has one of the highest rates of rheumatic fever in the world. This is rife in our indigenous communities and causes major damage to the heart valves.
  • For the first time in our history there are more people over the age of 16 with CHD than younger. This is due to medical advances. In days gone by they were the ‘blue babies’, most of whom died at birth.