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With the advent of sophisticated diagnostic imaging, advanced medical therapy, catheter-based interventional procedures, and innovative surgery, more than 90 percent of infants born with congenital heart disease now survive well into adulthood.
However, this success has brought new challenges. In many cases, patients who have undergone surgical repair of their congenital heart defect are "fixed" but their hearts are not normal, creating conditions that are unfamiliar to most physicians who care for adult patients.
Congenital Heart Disease: What You Need to Know
We are proud of our strong tradition of excellence in cardiac care going back more than 50 years. If you or a loved one has a congenital heart defect, you will receive the best possible care from experts specially trained in congenital heart disease. Our team of highly skilled general cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, and cardiac surgeons offer experienced and compassionate care for adult patients with a congenital heart defect.
The University of Vermont Medical Center understands the complexity of caring for adult patients with a repaired or unrepaired congenital heart defect. Our specialized program is committed to providing advanced and comprehensive care for adults with congenital heart disease. Additionally, our cardiologists are on the frontiers of cardiac medicine - actively involved with new scientific developments and innovation.
You and your family will feel the advantages of personalized, patient-centered care. Also, we are committed to patient education. We answer all your questions and help you become as informed as possible throughout through all stages of your care.
Experienced, Trusted Expertise
Whether you have a small congenital heart defect requiring only routine monitoring, or a large opening leading to serious complications - we offer the full scope of services for your condition. As a university hospital and health system, our team provides the most advanced care backed by research: we make all diagnostic and treatment recommendations based on the latest thinking in the field. In addition, our cardiology group has a dedicated clinic devoted to adult patients with congenital heart disease affording a level of expertise in this area unique to Vermont and the surrounding region.
What is Congenital Heart Disease?
Most of us think of heart disease as a condition that is acquired by living an unhealthy lifestyle, but some people are born with heart disease; a condition called congenital heart disease.
A congenital heart defect is an abnormal heart from birth. Approximately eight out of every 1,000 infants are born with congenital heart disease. Some defects are mild and may not even be noticeable during infancy or childhood. Others are life-threatening and need surgery during infancy.
The care of infants and children with congenital heart disease has been a monumental success, with over 90 percent of infants born with congenital heart disease now living well into adulthood. However, since these people's hearts are not normal even though they are repaired, they need doctors who specialize in treating adults with congenital heart disease.
Several factors can increase the risk of developing a congenital heart defect, including:
If your mother had or took any of the following while she was pregnant with you:
- German measles (rubella)
- Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- Drugs such as:
- Isotretinoin (Amnesteem, Claravis, Sotret), which is used to treat acne
- Lithium, which is used to treat bipolar disorder
Family history: congenital heart disease can run in families and also is associated with genetic syndromes such as Down syndrome (trisomy 21) or chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.
Congenital Heart Disease Diagnosis and Treatment
At The UVM Medical Center, physicians who specialize in congenital heart disease will assess your condition and make a diagnosis.
Your cardiologist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you including the use of specialized medications, percutaneous techniques to close holes in the heart, and surgical correction of a congenital heart defect such as atrial septal defect.
Learn more about congenital heart disease treatment.