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Children born with congenital heart disease are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that close to 1.4 million people in the U.S. have adult congenital heart disease (ACHD). These adults require special ongoing care.
The specialists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, are your partner for ACHD care for a lifetime.
Our team is skilled in caring for your congenital heart condition and how it affects you as an adult.
Congenital heart disease refers to an issue with the heart’s structure and function that is present at birth. Adults also can have congenital heart disease, from a structural issue that was not found earlier in life to conditions related to the continued care of the original heart lesion. Children with congenital heart disease continue to need care as they grow older and throughout adulthood.
Even if you had successful treatment as a child, symptoms related to the original heart condition can occur later in life. New issues related to congenital heart disease also can appear. Your cardiologist will work with you to decide how often you should get care for your condition.
At Norton Children’s Heart Institute:
Some congenital heart defects cause no signs or symptoms. For some people, signs or symptoms occur later in life. They can reappear years after treatment for a heart defect.
Common congenital heart disease symptoms you might have as an adult include:
For some adults with congenital heart disease, the initial heart defect can recur or worsen with age. Issues in the heart that were not serious enough to repair as a child can get worse over time and need care later. Complications from childhood surgeries can cause issues as a person ages as well, such as scar tissue or an irregular heartbeat.
Environmental and genetic risk factors can play a role in who develops a congenital heart defect, including:
A cardiologist will examine you to determine whether any current health issues are related to your congenital heart disease. Your Norton Children’s Heart Institute cardiologist may run several tests and other procedures, including:
Depending on your specific congenital heart issue and its severity, treatment could either be correcting the heart defect or managing complications caused by it. Common treatments include: