The Baltimore-Washington Infant Study is a regional epidemiologic study of congenital heart disease. Among Infants born in the study area in 1981 and 1982, 664 had a diagnosis of congenital heart disease confirmed in the first year of life by echocardiography, cardiac catheterization, cardiac surgery, or autopsy. The prevalence rate was 3.7/1,000 livebirths for all cases and 2.4/1,000 livebirths for cases confirmed by invasive methods only. Diagnosis-specific prevalence rates of congenital heart disease are compared with those of eight previous case series. Changing diagnostic categorizations in the time span covered and methodological differences resulted in great variation of the data. However, the data of the New England Infant Cardiac Program which used the same case discovery methods showed similar occurrences of major morphologic abnormalities, suggesting that these are stable basic estimates in the eastern United States. For all case series, the rate of confirmed congenital heart disease was approximately 4/1,000 livebirths over the 40-year time span.