Congenital heart defects are problems with the heart’s structure that are present at birth. These problems may affect the overall shape of the heart, the heart’s valves, and the arteries and veins that carry blood to the heart or the body. Congenital heart defects affect 8 out of every 1,000 newborns, and more than 35,000 babies in the United States are born with a heart defect. Although the exact causes are unknown, heart defects may be linked to heredity factors, other genetic disorders (i.e. Down syndrome), and smoking during pregnancy. Severity ranges from defects with no symptoms to life-threatening defects. Many heart defects are easily fixed, although the more serious ones require attention throughout a person’s lifetime. Diagnosis may include a physical examination, X-rays, or various heart function tests. Defects can be treated with medication, surgery or through minimally invasive catheter procedures. In such procedures, a needle is used to insert a catheter into a vein or artery to repair the defect.