Congenital heart disease - Adult

What is it?

Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in the United States. It includes any type of heart abnormality present at birth and can affect the:

  • Heart valves.
  • Interior walls of the heart.
  • Arteries and veins that carry blood to and from the heart.

Doctors often identify heart defects before birth or during infancy and childhood. Pediatric patients receive treatment and ongoing follow-up care and observation. But it's possible for a congenital heart defect to go unnoticed until adolescence or adulthood.

Most common Congenital Heart defects affecting adults:

  • Atrial septal defect (ASD).
  • Patent foramen ovale (PFO).
  • Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF).
  • Transposition of the great arteries.
  • Coarctation of the aorta.
  • Pulmonary ductus arteriosus (PDA).

Complications that could develop in adulthood


  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
  • Bluish or purplish skin discoloration (cyanosis).
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Water retention (edema) that causes swelling.

Diagnosing congenital heart disease

  • Before birth with ultrasound (fetal echo).
  • Cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram).
  • Cardiac MRI.
  • Genetic testing.

Treating congenital heart disease

  • Surgical repair.
  • Transcatheter repair.
  • Medical management.

Adult Congenital Heart program

Contact the Adult Congenital Heart program coordinator at 480-323-3929 to speak with a nurse or to make an appointment at the Lampe Center for Advanced Heart Care.

Learn more