Adult Congenital Heart Clinic
One of every 150 babies is born with congenital heart disease (CHD), a malformation of the heart or major blood vessels. In fact, CHD is the most common birth defect in the country. Fifty years ago, many babies with CHD didn't survive. Today, thanks in part to the medical and surgical advances and expert care available at medical centers like Children's, people with these conditions are living long, healthy lives.
The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic at Children's Hospital & Medical Center has been serving thousands of Midlands residents for nearly 20 years and is the only specialized CHD clinic of its kind in the region. Our multidisciplinary team of health care professionals - from the cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons to nurses and technicians - is specially trained in the complex anatomy and physiology of people with CHD. We manage the care of patients with CHD beginning at age 18 and older and provide the specialized care and expertise necessary to help you manage your disease and live a normal, fulfilling life. Our Adult CHD Clinic is listed in and registered by the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) at http://www.achaheart.org/.
Managing adult CHD
Because CHD can cause other problems as a person reaches adulthood, people with CHD should receive specialized care and management of their condition throughout their lives. Congenital heart disease is very different and often much more complex than acquired heart disease conditions that may develop later in life and therefore requires care from doctors experienced and trained to treat and manage adult congenital heart disease. We have been following many of our patients since birth.
The Congenital Heart Disease Clinic provides advice and consultation on everything from how to manage your disease during everyday activities to minor surgery and heart surgery. The type of congenital heart disease you have, how you have been treated in the past and what types of associated problems you may have developed since your initial surgery, will help determine how often you will need to be followed and the type of treatment or therapies you will need as an adult. Management of CHD in adulthood may involve medications, lifestyle changes and/or heart surgery. Our cardiothoracic surgeons have more than 17 years of experience in repairing the hearts of infants, children and young adults and specialize in complex surgeries for congenital heart defects. We perform some of the most advanced and complex surgeries available in the country with success rates that outperform national averages.
There are several primary categories of CHD patients. The first of these two categories will likely be monitored every six to 12 months. The last group will need to be seen by a CHD specialist every three to five years. These categories include:
- People with simple CHD problems that have been surgically repaired as a child and are now causing residual problems.
- People with complex CHD problems that have been surgically repaired as a child and are now suffering residual problems.
- Patients with CHD who have been treated as a child and continue to do well.
Focus on education
Because CHD is a condition acquired at birth, many individuals may not have a clear understanding of their condition as they reach adulthood. The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic at Children's places a high priority on education and self-management of the disease. Every patient that comes to our clinic is offered education and counseling on the following topics:
- Your congenital heart defect anatomy (what you were born with)
- The history of your operations/surgeries
- Your residual heart problems
- Physical activity issues
- Over-the-counter medication use
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs
- Your job / employment/education
- Your outlook for the future
- Family planning or birth control options
- Genetic inheritance
- Insurance issues
- Emotional/anxiety issues
- Your primary care medicine provider, service and care
- The future of your heart clinic care (For example, should you see an adult cardiologist or stay with us in our clinic?)
The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic's goal is to ensure that patients born with congenital heart disease live long, healthy lives. We will help you achieve this goal with careful monitoring and treatment of your condition by experienced individuals skilled and highly trained in the complexities of CHD.