Seattle Children's Cardiac Genetics Program

By far, most heart defects in children have no known genetic cause. But in this rapidly changing field, doctors are getting more and more clues about the role of genetics in the development of the heart.

What services do you offer?

This program involves consultation, evaluation and counseling before and after your child is born. You will talk with doctors and genetic counselors about your family risk of having a child with a heart defect. By knowing more about the risks, your family can evaluate the options better.

In many cases, assessing your risk is all that's needed. For instance, the risk of having a baby with a heart defect is 1%, or 1 in 100 children. If you or your child has a heart defect, the risk of another child being born with a heart defect increases. Certain heart defects have a much higher risk of being passed on, particularly:

You may make an appointment with the Cardiac Genetics Clinic at Children's on your own or seek a referral from your primary care doctor.

Depending on the risk factors, an  echocardiogram  may be done on one or more family members. Blood tests may be performed to look at genetic markers in the chromosomes. Often, we will involve other heart specialists or consultants.

What's special about the experience at Seattle Children's?

Genetics is one of the fastest-changing specialties in medicine. Our doctors are on top of the latest research through our partnership with the University of Washington Medical School, so you receive the most up-to-date information on risk factors and tests.

Who's on the team?

The cardiac genetics team includes members of our Heart Center team, geneticists and genetic counselors. The Cardiac Genetics Program team is led by Drs. Mark LewinIan Glass and Aaron Olson .

Together with other pediatric specialists and researchers at Seattle Children's and the University of Washington, the team continues to investigate genetics.