Adult Congenital Heart Disease | Loyola Medicine

Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Top Cardiology and Heart Surgery Program for Treating Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease is one of the many cardiovascular conditions diagnosed and treated by the highly skilled doctors at Loyola Medicine. Whether your condition is diagnosed at birth or later in adult life, our multidisciplinary team of cardiologists and surgeons work together to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

A congenital heart defect is caused by abnormal development of your 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 effect on your body. While some heart defects may go undiscovered and can be left untreated, others have life-threatening symptoms and require complex medical treatment to prevent congestive heart failure (CHF) and other serious conditions.

Medical advances enable children with congenital heart defects to live well into adult life. However, complications from pediatric heart defects can resurface in adulthood, and many fail to get the follow-up care and monitoring they require. Loyola’s expert team of specialists is skilled at providing long-term treatment and monitoring of congenital heart disorders, including: 

  • Atrial septal defects (ASD) and ventricular septal defects (VSD) or hole in heart — When oxygen-rich blood mixes with de-oxygenated blood across the right and left heart chambers
  • Ebstein's anomaly — When the tricuspid valve is abnormally formed, causing blood to leak back through the valve, making the heart work less efficiently
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) — A blood vessel connecting the major arteries of the heart. This allows too much blood to flow through the lungs, causing heart failure or high blood pressure in the lungs if untreated.
  • Tetralogy of fallot (TOF) — Occurs when VSD, overriding aorta, pulmonary stenosis and right ventricular hypertrophy all occur together
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous connection (TAPVC) — Occurs when the blood does not take the normal route from the lungs to the heart and out to the body. Instead, the veins from the lungs attach to the heart in abnormal positions.
  • Transposition of the great arteries (TGA) — Occurs when the two main arteries going out of the heart, the pulmonary artery and the aorta, are switched in position, or “transposed.” This condition causes the heart to pump oxygen-poor blood to the rest of the body.

Regardless of the severity of your congenital heart defect, a heart specialist should monitor you as an adult. Many people with a history of congenital heart disease are at higher risk for an infection of the heart (endocarditis), arrhythmias, stroke, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and congenital valve disease. Proper long-term care and monitoring can improve heart function.

Why Choose Loyola for Congenital Heart Disease Treatment?

Loyola Medicine is nationally recognized for its expertise in diagnosing and treating heart and vascular conditions and has heart specialists experienced in treating adult congenital heart disease. 

How is Adult Congenital Heart Disease Diagnosed?

Specialists at Loyola approach the long-term treatment of congenital heart defects with great detail and care. In order to accurately diagnose your condition, your doctor will perform a physical exam, evaluate your medical history, perform any necessary testing and consider your symptoms, which may include:

  • Arrhythmia
  • Cyanosis
  • Exercise impairment
  • Labored breathing
  • Leg swelling
  • Shortness of breath

Loyola’s multidisciplinary team has access to state-of-the-art imaging, such as cardiac MRI and other diagnostic tests to confirm your diagnosis and provide ongoing monitoring of your condition.

What are the Most Common Types of Treatment for Adult Congenital Heart Disease?

Treatment of congenital heart defects in adults depends on the severity of your condition. In some instances medical monitoring is sufficient, while more severe cases may require medication, cardiac catheterization procedures or cardiac surgery. Some patients may require a combination of treatments. Your team at Loyola will work with you to develop a treatment plant that is right for you.