C6. Congenital Heart Disease 1

Congenital Heart Disease

Adult Congenital Heart Disease Congenital heart defects affect 8 to 10 out of every 1,000 children. Congenital heart defects may produce symptoms at birth or during childhood but sometimes symptoms may not develop until adulthood. Cardiac defects that are typically diagnosed and treated in childhood include Tetralogy of Fallot and Transposition of the Great Arteries, while others may not be diagnosed until adulthood including atrial septal defects, pulmonary valve stenosis and coarctation of aorta.

Over the past few decades, tremendous advances in diagnosis and surgery have made it possible to fix or repair most cardiac defects and many people with these defects are now reaching adulthood and living full, active lives. Treatment is based on the severity of the congenital heart disease.

Some mild heart defects do not require any treatment while others can be treated with medications, invasive procedures or surgery. Until the 1990’s, most cardiac procedures required open-heart surgery, but in the modern era, many procedures are performed as day cases using percutaneous intervention techniques, without the need for open heart surgery.

Most adults with congenital heart disease should be monitored by a heart specialist These patients need specific advice about many problems such as exercise, employability, pregnancy and family planning, non-cardiac surgery, insurance issues, endocarditis prophylaxis, prognosis, and potential future problems.