Several heart conditions can remain silent until they result in a major health incidents, such as stroke or sudden death. For example, certain
rare congenital coronary artery anomalies can lead to sudden death in young competitive athletes.
A far more common birth condition is Atrial Septal Defect, which is an abnormal opening between two chambers of the heart. This condition –twice as common in females than males– can remain silent, or be associated with subtle, nonspecific symptoms, for many years and
then result in several significant health
consequences, including stroke. The majority of cases are diagnosed before the fifth decade of life. Early diagnosis means a better chance of correcting the defect before irreversible conditions have developed.