Heart Disease: About Congenital Heart Disease in Adults
Adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) is a rapidly growing subspecialty that deals with adults who were born with congenital heart disease (CHD). Congenital heart conditions are the most common birth defects, affecting nearly 1 percent of all babies born. With dramatic success in pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery, we now estimate that more than 90-percent of these babies survive into adulthood. Because of their improved survival, we now have more adults with congenital heart disease than children. In the U.S., it is estimated that we have over 1 million patients with some form of CHD, and in the next few years this number will increase.
Why Specialized Congenital Heart Disease Treatment is Needed
Most patients with congenital heart disease undergo repair during infancy or childhood; but it's important to remember that these patients are not cured but only repaired, and often require further treatments for their heart defect as adults. They are at increased risk of developing irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias), narrowing or leaky valves, pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, and premature death. Many of them also have medical and psychological issues that require care from dedicated specialists outside cardiology. Because of this, CHD patients require lifelong follow up care with a specialized team of physicians and nurses who understand their unique complexities.
- Why Choose Us?
We’re One of Few
There are very few specialized adult congenital heart disease centers in the U.S. that provide care to patients with a heart defect. Some of these dedicated ACHD programs offer care in pediatric hospitals; others provide care in adult hospitals. But the common factor is that these medical programs provide an integrated team with expertise in congenital heart disease treatment.
It is important for patients with congenital heart disease to see pediatric heart specialists along with the adult specialists. Because in the past many children with CHD did not survive into adulthood, most adult cardiologists never received specialized training on the intricacies of CHD defects and repairs. Now, because of the many medical advances in CHD care, there are many adults living with congenital heart disease, making the partnership between pediatric and adult specialists key to maintaining optimal health.
Interconnected Facilities, One Geographic Location
The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at UH is unique in that we offer the health services of both an adult hospital and a children’s hospital, a women’s hospital (UH McDonald Women’s Hospital) and a cancer hospital (University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center) – all in one geographic location. These facilities are interconnected, providing patients easy access to our heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and maternal cardiac clinics. It also allows for seamless inpatient transfers and collaboration between our multidisciplinary experts.
We Facilitate a Seamless Transition into Adult Care
The close collaboration between pediatric and adult caregivers helps manage these patients with congenital heart defects and facilitate a seamless transition into adult care. This smooth transition is essential in closing medical care gaps that can arise if pediatric patients discontinue follow-up care once they become adults. Very few congenital heart disease programs in the country have this expanded capability all under one roof.
Our adult congenital heart disease team is not only committed to providing comprehensive patient-centered care but also offers education to our patients and their caregivers. As an adult congenital disease survivor, we understand your challenges and success stories, and we are committed to improving your quality of life and long-term survival. ACHD team members are available and easily reachable 24/7 to answer any of your questions or concerns.
- Our Team
Leadership at University Hospitals has recognized the burden of this rapidly growing population and their medical needs. The ACHD team at UH is a collaboration between adult, children’s and women’s specialists who are passionate and dedicated to providing their knowledge and wisdom for the best care possible. Our team include:
- Congenital heart surgeons
- Pediatric and adult interventional cardiologists
- Pediatric and adult cardiac imaging experts
- Pediatric and adult electrophysiologists
- Pediatric and adult cardiac anesthesiologists
- Pediatric and adult heart failure experts
- Pulmonary hypertension experts
- Maternal fetal medicine (high-risk pregnancy) specialists
- Our Services
Adult congenital heart disease services we offer include:
- Outpatient and inpatient evaluation, management and continued care
- High-risk pregnancy program with genetic counseling for women with ACHD
- Diagnostic imaging services
- Transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans
- Electrophysiology services, including radio frequency and cryoablation ablation, pacemaker and automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (AICD) implantation
- Diagnostic and interventional catheterization
- Adult congenital cardiothoracic surgery
- Heart failure and pulmonary hypertension management
- Advanced heart failure therapies including mechanical assisted devices and transplantation
- Our Program Goals
The goals of the UH Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program are to:
- Provide long-term care to improve quality of life and long-term survival
- Smoothly transition from childhood through adolescence into adulthood
- Provide comprehensive medical care tailored to each individual
- Counsel and facilitate a safe and successful pregnancy for women with ACHD
- Participate and support local and national ACHD groups and organizations
- Collaborate with other centers to advance knowledge and research
High-risk Pregnancy Program
Learn about our collaborative pregnancy care for women with Adult Congenital Heart Disease.
Adult Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery
Learn about some of the most advanced technologies available for interventional heart care that UH offers.
Transition into Adult Care
Learn how we help teens and young adults with Congenital Heart Disease transition to adult care.
Meet our Team
The UH ACHD team is a collaboration of specialists dedicated to providing the best care for our congential heart patients.