The Adult Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) program of the GHS Heart & Vascular Institute provides comprehensive cardiology care for adults with repaired or unrepaired CHD. Because of improvements in surgical and catheterization techniques, the majority of children who were born with CHD are now living well into adulthood. In fact, there are more adults with CHD than pediatric patients: approximately 1.3 million adults in the U.S. and an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 in South Carolina alone. Most of these patients are not receiving appropriate clinical follow-up.
This program serves as a model for addressing transition challenges for young adults with underlying pediatric conditions.
Over the past few decades, new medical procedures and improved pediatric care have led to better outcomes for patients with a variety of childhood conditions once considered generally fatal. As a result, the population of adults living with pediatric diagnoses has ballooned–and continues to grow.
The lack of follow-up is related to a lack of access to care and to the fact that many patients do not know they need follow-up. Many adults with CHD believe that their CHD was “cured” by previous surgical procedures. In reality, they require lifelong follow-up for residual or new cardiac defects. Adults with CHD face many medical and social challenges. These patients will benefit from the comprehensive, cohesive and collaborative care the cardiovascular services at GHS provide.
Read the article featuring Dr. Patel “Balancing Act: Three Local Moms Doing It All” from Belle Magazine.
Adults with CHD are at risk for development of arrhythmia, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, liver failure and residual cardiac defects. They also may be at risk for endocarditis, and some may require an evaluation for a heart transplant. Adults with CHD require special management before and during non-cardiac surgical interventions and before and during pregnancy.
We have responded to the needs of our local community by creating a specific adult CHD program. The program provides multidisciplinary management that includes the expertise of adult and pediatric cardiologists, nurses and social workers.
The program offers on-site cardiac CT imaging, MRI, Holter monitoring, exercise stress testing, echocardiography, radiology and laboratory evaluation. In collaboration with the adult cardiovascular program at GHS and the pediatric cardiology program, patients also have access to surgery and catheterization or electrophysiologic studies when they are indicated. Taking full advantage of the broad GHS network, we also are able to collaborate care of our patients among primary care doctors, high-risk OB/GYN, dentists and surgeons.
The GHS adult CHD program is focused on empowering our patients to understand their heart disease and face the challenges of living with CHD. In alliance with local primary care providers and pediatric cardiologists, the adult CHD program helps facilitate the transition of adolescents from pediatric into adult care in a manner that is safe and without interruption.
For more on our program, call (864) 797-9912.