A brand new article has been published on U.S. statistics of birth defects. Here is the list of the most common defects:
- heart and circulatory conditions accounted for a third of the 139,100 hospital admissions for birth defects in 2004 (about 33 percent of all birth defect cases)
- gastrointestinal defects accounted for nearly 29,000 admissions (about 19 percent)
- genitourinary birth defects (9 percent)
- nervous system birth defects (5 percent)
- others such as cleft palate, hip deformity, sunken chest, skull and facial bone defects, spinal deformity, and foot deformities (34 percent)
Between 1997 and 2004, hospital rates increased by over 25 percent for heart and circulatory birth defects and digestive birth defects. Hospitals spent $2.6 billion treating birth defects. Half the cost was for heart and circulatory congenital problems.
So I should learn much more cardiology. I must add that many diseases may not be discovered or treated until adulthood so this article is just about defects recognized in the first year of life.
If you want to read more on the subject, take a look at the National Statistics For 18 Major Birth Defects, a more detailed perinatal statistics page or the birth defects image category at Wikimedia Commons.