Congenital heart disease (also known as CHD) is a general term used to describe a range of heart problems that a person has had since birth. While complex, life-threatening cases can occur, many babies with congenital heart disease grow into healthy adults who simply need additional care and oversight from an experienced cardiologist.
Adults living with congenital heart defects may need medication, surgery or just regular checkups to monitor the heart’s function. As an adult, if you know you were born with a congenital heart defect, it’s important your healthcare provider knows, and your condition is being monitored by a qualified care team.
What are congenital heart disorders?
Congenital heart disorders are the presence of heart defects, specifically those impacting the structure of the heart. This type of disease may impact the walls, valves, or arteries of the heart, all of which impact blood flow and can range in severity.
Some of the more common congenital heart diseases in adults that Georgia Heart Institute monitors and treats include:
- Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
- Mitral Valve Prolapse – Note that while mitral valve prolapse can be a congenital heart disorder, it can also occur later in life.
- Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)
- Pulmonary Valve Stenosis
- Ventricular Septal Defect
What are congenital heart disease symptoms in adults?
Adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) symptoms include:
- Arrhythmias – heart murmurs or irregular heartbeats
- Cyanosis – blue lips, skin, or fingernails
- Edema – swelling and fluid retention, especially in the legs or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Quickly feeling tired with activity
You should see a doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and seek emergency medical care if you have worrisome conditions like chest pain or shortness of breath.
Congenital Heart Disease Treatment in Adults
Treatment options will depend on a variety of factors including the individual’s age and health, the type of congenital heart disease present, and the doctor’s recommendations. Sometimes, medication is all that is needed, and other times surgery provides the best outcomes. If no symptoms are present, treatment may not even be needed.
- Catheter-based treatment – For some disorders, like ASD or PFO, our Structural Heart Center can repair these conditions without necessitating surgery at all.
- Open surgical repairs along with robotic & minimally invasive surgery – At other times, surgery may offer the best and longest-lasting option for patients, ensuring great outcomes for many years to come.
Why Choose Georgia Heart Institute?
If you’re an adult living with a congenital heart disease, it’s important to have regular checkups with your doctor and to choose the best interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons for advanced expertise when it comes to matters of the heart. Georgia Heart Institute is the state’s most-forward thinking heart and vascular program, offering innovative treatment plans and the highest level of care. For patients with congenital heart disease, we offer comprehensive treatment options to help patients maintain their heart health and feel their best, focused on providing patients in our region the best outcomes while limiting pain and long recovery times.
Receiving Adult Congenital Heart Disease Care at Georgia Heart Institute
If you are an adult living with a congenital heart disorder, we’re here to help. If you’re ready to get started, choose a provider below and schedule an appointment.