Present at birth. A condition that is congenital is one that is present at birth. There are numerous uses of "congenital" in medicine. There are, for example, congenital abnormalities. (For more examples, see below.) Versus "genetic": One dictionary erroneously defines "congenital" as meaning: "Occurring prior to birth, due to parent's genetic input." Congenital does not mean genetic. Something that is congenital may or may not be genetic (inherited). For example, congenital syphilis is present at birth but is not genetic. Timing: Something that is congenital may or may not occur "prior to birth." The essential feature is that it is there at birth (if not before). Etymology: Congenital comes from the Latin congenitus which is made up of com-, with + genitus, the past participle of gignere, to bring forth. The word "congenital" has not been used in English since its birth but first appeared in 1796. The term "congenital" is synonymous with "innate." Examples of terms using the word "congenital: {{}}Congenital achromatopsia Congenital anemia and triphalangeal thumbs Congenital anomaly Congenital arthrogryposis Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome Congenital clasped thumb with mental retardation Congenital deafness Congenital defect Congenital heart disease Congenital hemolytic jaundice Congenital hip dislocation Congenital hypothyroidism Congenital malformation Congenital neutropenia Congenital ptosis of the eyelids Congenital torticollis
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Existing at birth, referring to certain mental or physical traits, anomalies, malformations, diseases, etc. which may be either hereditary or due to an influence occurring during gestation up to the moment of birth. SYN: congenitus. [L. congenitus, born with]

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con·gen·i·tal kän-'jen-ə-təl adj
1) existing at or dating from birth <\congenital deafness>
2) acquired during development in the uterus and not through heredity <\congenital syphilis> compare ACQUIRED (2), FAMILIAL, HEREDITARY
con·gen·i·tal·ly -təl-ē adv

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describing a condition that is recognized at birth or that is believed to have been present since birth. Congenital malformations include all disorders present at birth whether they are inherited or caused by an environmental factor.

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con·gen·i·tal (kən-jenґĭ-təl) [L. congenitus born together] existing at, and usually before, birth; referring to conditions that are present at birth, regardless of their causation. Cf. hereditary.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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