Pediatric and Adult Congenital Heart Disease
What is it?
Congenital heart disease is caused by abnormal development of the heart before birth, creating problems with its structure and function. Congenital defects of the heart are the most common type of birth defect and vary in their presentation of symptoms and long-term impact on the body. While some may go undetected, others have life-threatening symptoms. Others may be left untreated, while others require complex medical treatment to prevent heart failure and other serious conditions. Symptoms may appear at birth, during childhood, as a teenager, and sometimes not until adulthood. These symptoms in adults may include shortness of breath or poor tolerance of exercise.
Our expert team of specialists at Loyola are able to treat several congenital heart disorders including, but not limited to, the following:
- Marfans syndrome, which is a disorder that affects the ability of connective tissue to support and anchor the heart muscle.
- Atrial and ventricular septal defects (ASD/VSD), in which oxygen-rich blood mixes with de-oxygenated blood across the right and left heart chambers.
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), in which there is a large opening between major blood vessels in the heart. This allows too much blood to flow through the heart, thus weakening the heart muscle and causing heart failure if untreated.
- Long Q-T syndrome, which is a heart rhythm disorder characterized by extended time for activation of heart muscle contraction.
- Patent formen ovale (PFO), which is a small, flaplike opening in the heart that did not close after birth.
These and other conditions may be treated with medication, minimally invasive procedures, or cardiac surgery. Some patients may require a combination of treatments. Treatment is determined based on the severity of disease and symptoms. For patients who are only mildly affected with a disease, treatment may not be required.
Adults and children with congenital heart disease should be monitored by a heart specialist regardless of the severity of the disease. Many people with congenital heart disease are at higher risk for an infection of the heart (endocarditis) and should be aware of special precautions needed to prevent infection.
The Loyola difference
U.S. News & World Report ranked Loyola 29th in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery in 2014-2015. Loyola has the only cardiology program in Chicago to be nationally ranked for 12 years in a row.
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