As the number of adults with congenital heart disease 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. This condition when present in adulthood affects patients who previously suffered from congenital heart disease as children. Patients require treatment for residual problems treated in childhood, for complications of their diseases or to ensure the longevity of previous surgical procedures. The program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi offers a multidisciplinary approach for diagnosis and management of adult congenital heart disease.
Patients with adult congenital heart disease 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 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 Adult Congenital Heart Disease program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi 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 the disease; these range from prescription medication to surgical interventions including minimally invasive and robotic techniques.
The 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 specialist team. Interventional procedures and open or less invasive 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 a comprehensive and thorough service line unique in the GCC region.
The multidisciplinary team includes specialists from across the hospital. Caregivers involved in patient care for this program are:
- 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.