This multidisciplinary program encompasses the full spectrum of care and provides continuity for adults living with congenital heart disease. The Adult Congenital Heart Program provides regular inpatient and outpatient services to the most complex adult congenital heart patients, offering a full spectrum of imaging, exercise testing and surgical and less-invasive catheterization therapies.
Our expert care team includes a cardiologist who is board-certified in pediatric and adult cardiology; a pediatric cardiologist; an adult cardiologist; pulmonologists; an advanced practice nurse; genetic counselors and a social worker.
Working with our colleagues in adult medicine, patients 18 years and older who were successfully diagnosed and treated as children, as well as adults diagnosed with heart defects for the first time, receive detailed education about their underlying congenital heart defect, its management, and the implications on future functioning.
Patients have access to advanced diagnostic imaging, including echocardiography and MRI.
The Adult Congenital Heart team collaborates with specialists in high-risk obstetrics and maternal fetal medicine, cardiac imaging, cardiac transplantation, cardiothoracic surgery and sub-specialists in related areas, including kidney disease.
Experts in congenital electrophysiology offer potential curative therapies for life-threatening arrhythmias. Congenital and acquired cardiovascular diseases that require surgical intervention are managed by our team of pediatric and adult cardiovascular surgeons with an experience that spans three decades.
Conditions we treat include:
- Atrial septal defect (ASD)
- Ventricular septal defect (VSD)
- Atrioventricular canal defect
- Bicuspid aortic valve
- Pulmonary stenosis
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Ebstein's anomaly
- Transposition of the great arteries, including those who have had a Mustard or Senning operation or arterial switch operation
- Congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Complex single ventricle patients, including those who had a Fontan operation
- Cyanotic heart disease
- Patients who had a Ross operation as a child
- Congenital coronary anomalies, including ALCAPA (anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery)
Frequently asked questions
Q. Who should be seen by an adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) expert?
A. If you were born with heart disease, regardless if you had heart surgery in the past or not, you should be seen by a specialist in ACHD. The frequency of your visits depends on the type of your heart disease and symptoms. According to the 2008 ACC/AHA guidelines: "Health care for ACHD patients should be coordinated by regional ACHD centers of excellence…"
Q. I am not having any symptoms now; do I need to be seen?
A. Yes. Many patients wait until symptoms develop, making it harder to treat their congenital heart disease. Imaging, including echocardiograms (ultrasound) and MRI, allow us to diagnose problems before they limit your ability to live and work symptom-free.
Q. What kind of problems do you commonly treat?
A. We care for a broad range of health concerns, but commonly encountered problems in ACHD patients including:
- Unrepaired congenital defects
- Complications associated with early surgical repair
- Heart failure
- Heart rhythm problems, including pacemakers and defibrillators
- Pregnancy issues
If I need surgery or a procedure, who would be involved?
A. Our ACHD team is involved at every step along the way. Cardiac catheterizations, including non-invasive placement of valves, are done by experts in congenital heart disease. Surgery for ACHD is done by one of our heart surgeons who specialize in congenital heart disease.
On adult congenital heart disease
Paul Kirshbom, MD
Dr. Kirshbom talks about children living with congenital heart disease into adulthood. Video
Gary Kopf, MD
Dr. Kopf discusses how congenital heart disease in adults is one of the fastest growing parts of the cardiac practice. Video
For referral or appointments, call 203.785.2022 or email ACHD@yale.edu