Heart and Vascular Institute – Adult Congenital Heart Disease
For the latest adult congenital heart disease diagnostic and treatment options, turn to Penn State Health Heart and Vascular Institute.
Specialized Care for a Lifelong Condition
If you were born with a heart problem requiring surgery or catheterization in infancy or childhood, you likely have congenital heart disease (CHD). Your best option for lifelong care is a cardiology team with specialized training and experience in caring for adults with CHD. The team at Penn State Health has what you need.
Congenital heart disease includes birth defects that involve the structures of the heart, its valves or blood vessels. Thanks to medical and surgical advances, most children with CHD are now living into adulthood. In fact, the number of adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD) in the U.S. now exceeds the number of children living with CHD.
Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, affecting about 1 in 100 babies. There are many types of CHD; some show no signs or symptoms at birth and may be diagnosed later in life. Most are more complex and require medical or surgical treatment shortly after birth.
Who Should Be Seen at an Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center?
- Adults (18 years and older) who were born with any structural heart defect
- Those who had heart surgery or heart catheterization as a child
- Adults with CHD who are being seen by a general or pediatric cardiologist and desire an expert second opinion or more specialized care
Even though many believe that their hearts were "fixed" after surgery, everyone who has had surgery in childhood should have regular follow-up care at an adult congenital heart disease center. Such care has been proven to prolong the life of people with ACHD.
Penn State Health’s Program for Adult Congenital Heart Disease
As an adult congenital heart disease center, Penn State Health’s Program for Adult Congenital Heart Disease (PACHD) has decades of success in caring for adults born with a congenital heart defect. We’re experienced in all aspects of ACHD care, including:
- Determining the need for additional surgery or intervention
- Heart failure
- Aortic disease
- Syndromes with CHD complications (such as Down syndrome or Turner syndrome)
- ACHD-related pulmonary arterial hypertension (high blood pressure involving the right side of your heart and the arteries that supply blood to the lungs)
- Pregnancy in women with CHD
- Cardiac and noncardiac surgery and interventional procedures
Our surgical program consistently earns the highest or three-star ranking for congenital heart disease surgery. For adults with CHD, supervision by a specialized CHD team is critical during all surgical and other medical procedures. That’s why our team members are always on call—24 hours a day, seven days a week.