The Adult Congenital Heart Clinic
The adult congenital heart clinic offers identification and management of congenital heart disease. Patients who are seen by a pediatric cardiologist will transition to our team’s care during young adulthood. Nearly all patients need follow-up throughout adult life. Some may eventually need additional surgery to correct complications that arise over time.
Most will need guidance on how their heart condition affects the important milestones of adulthood, such as employment, pregnancy, physical activity, as well as management of hypertension and cholesterol. Therapy may include medication, interventional cardiology or surgery. Some developing concerns with this population may include new rhythm disturbances, heart failure and possible need of a pacemaker.
There are 1.3 million Americans alive today with some form of congenital heart disease, about half of which are below the age of twenty-five. It is important that the very best care is available for adults with congenital heart defects. Given the complexity of these heart defects and their implications, we strive to offer the very best care with physicians and staff in centers which have specialized training and a focus on adult congenital heart disease.
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend the following:
- Ongoing patient care by centers with expertise in adult congenital heart disease.
- A transition process to help young adults bridge from a pediatric cardiologist to an adult congenital cardiologist
- Education about the risks of infection posed by dental procedures, tattoos, body piercings and other procedures that may introduce bacteria into the blood stream.
- Counseling about safe contraception.
- Consultation before pregnancy, including genetic counseling, so that patients understand the risks to both mother and baby.
Routine follow up allows prevention, early identification and appropriate management of these problems. The Adult Congenital Heart Clinic at Primary Children’s Hospital, in association with the University of Utah, is the only center in the Intermountain West which has a cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeons that are board certified in congenital heart disease. Our team also includes members who are skilled in special radiology procedures for individuals with congenital heart disease.