As the number of adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) increases – due in part to advancements in surgical treatment of the disease in children supporting longer life expectancy – there is a growing need for specialized services in the long-term follow up care of these patients. Grown-ups with congenital heart diseases (GUCH) affects patients who suffered from congenital heart disease in their childhood. Patients require treatment for residual problems treated in childhood, for complications of their diseases or to ensure the longevity of previous surgical procedures. The GUCH program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi offers a multidisciplinary approach for diagnosis and management of GUCH.
GUCH patients require long-term follow-up. As they age, the treatments they received in childhood may need to be fixed or re-applied as implants have a medical lifespan and may need replacement. GUCH patients may also require long-term follow-up. As they age, the treatments they received in childhood may need to be fixed or re-applied as implants have a medical lifespan and may need replacement. They may also present with holes between the chambers of the heart.
The most common defects treated are:
- Atrial septal defect (ASD) - a hole between the two minor heart chambers (atria).
- Pulmonary valve implantation or conduit replacement - repairs to the right side of the heart.
- Aortic valve stenosis – narrowing of the valve between the left heart and the aorta.
- Bicuspid aortic valve – the aortic valve has two valve leaflets, instead of three.
- Aortic coarctation – narrowing of the aorta inside the chest.
Diagnosis & Treatment
A common complaint among GUCH patients can be shortness of breath or the inability to perform normal activities as exercise capacity may drop over time.
Once at the hospital, the physician assessing the patient will obtain a full history including any procedures or operations performed in the past elsewhere. After a physical examination, the physician may order further tests as needed. These tests include electrocardiogram X-rays, laboratory tests and echocardiogram. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the heart is a mandatory examination.
The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi GUCH program aims to improve the patient’s quality of life in addition to life expectancy. A wide range of treatments are available to treat patients diagnosed with GUCH. These range from prescription medication to surgical interventions including minimally invasive and robotic techniques.
The GUCH program integrates the adult medicine and surgery specialties available at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All diagnostics and invasive catheter-based or surgical procedures are available and performed under direct supervision of the GUCH team. Interventional procedures and open or less invasive cardiac surgery are performed in the latest generation operating rooms and in specially designed hybrid operating rooms.
The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi GUCH program offers a comprehensive and thorough service line, unique within the GCC region.
The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi GUCH multidisciplinary team is made up of specialists from across the hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute. The care team includes:
- Cardiothoracic surgeons
- Case managers
- Physical therapists
- Pharmacotherapy specialists
This multidisciplinary team follows the patient from their first visit to the hospital until after they have been discharged to support them through the treatment process.