Adult congenital heart disease affects patients who suffered from congenital heart disease as children. Due in part to advancements in surgical treatment of congenital heart disease in children, leading to longer life expectancy, the number of adults with congenital heart disease has increased. Thus, there is a growing need for specialized services in the long-term follow-up care of adults with congenital heart disease.
The Adults with Congenital Heart Disease Program provides treatment for patients with residual congenital heart disease problems from childhood, as well as complications of the disease. The Adults with Congenital Heart Disease Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi offers a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose and manage adult congenital heart disease.
Adult congenital heart disease, also known as Adult CHD, or grown-up congenital heart disease (GUCH), requires long-term follow-up; as patients age, the treatments they received in childhood may need to be fixed, replaced, or re-applied. Patients may also develop holes between the chambers of the heart.
A common complaint among patients is shortness of breath or the inability to perform normal activities. Capacity for physical activity may decrease over time.
Common heart defects from congenital heart disease include:
- Atrial septal defect (ASD): A hole between the two minor heart chambers (atria).
- Pulmonary valve stenosis: Narrowing of the valve on the right side of the heart.
- Aortic valve stenosis: Narrowing of the valve between the left heart and the aorta.
- Bicuspid aortic valve: An aortic valve with two, instead of the usual three, valve leaflets.
- Aortic coarctation: Narrowing of the aorta inside the chest.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Adult Congenital Heart Disease
Diagnosis of Adult Congenital Heart Disease
In order to diagnose the patient, the physician will assess the patient’s history, including any previous procedures or operations. After a physical examination, the physician may order further tests, as needed. These tests may include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A scan that uses radio waves and magnets to provide images of the heart.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): A recording of the electrical activity of the heart, used to detect abnormalities.
- X-ray: Detailed images of the heart and the inside of the chest.
- Blood tests: A blood sample analyzed in our lab.
- Echocardiogram: A test that uses sound waves to reveal the size, shape, and functioning of the heart.
Treatment of Adult Congenital Heart Disease
The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi aims to improve the patient’s quality of life and increase life expectancy. Treatments range from prescription medication to surgical interventions, including minimally invasive surgery and robotically-assisted surgery.
The program integrates the adult medicine and surgery specialties at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All diagnostic testing, invasive catheter-based cardiac procedures, and other invasive surgical procedures are performed by specialized multidisciplinary team. All surgeries, including interventional procedures, open surgery, and noninvasive cardiac surgeries, are performed in the latest generation operating rooms and in specially designed hybrid operating rooms
The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi offers comprehensive and thorough treatment that is unique to the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region.
Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program Caregivers
The multidisciplinary team includes specialists from across the hospital. This team follows the patient from their first visit to the hospital until after they have been discharged to support them through the treatment process. Caregivers involved in patient-centered care for this program are:
- Cardiothoracic surgeons
- Case managers
- Physical therapists
- Pharmacotherapy specialists
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