Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect in the U.S. With advances in cardiology and cardiac therapies, it is estimated that more than 90 percent of babies born with CHD survive into adulthood.
Because most adults with adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) underwent surgical repair during infancy or childhood, it is important to understand that the heart defect was repaired and not cured, and often requires ongoing medical care. Patients with ACHD are at risk of developing medical complications that require care from cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons. Additional medications, surgeries or other procedures may be needed after the initial childhood surgeries. Some people with heart defects need lifelong care to stay as healthy as possible and address certain health issues.
Adults with CHDs can help with their health care by knowing the medical history, including the:
- Type(s) of heart defect(s) they have.
- Procedures or surgeries they have had performed.
- Medications and doses of these medications that they are prescribed currently and in the past.
- Type(s) of medical care they are receiving now.
As children transition to adult health care, it is important to notify any new health care providers about the child’s CHD. Ongoing appropriate medical care for their specific heart defect will help children and adults with a CHD to live as healthy a life as possible.