Adult congenital heart disease

What is it?

Congenital heart disease involves problems with your heart's structure present from birth. It is the most common birth defect, affecting about one in every 100 newborns worldwide. There are 14,000 adults with congenital heart disease in Maricopa County, Arizona. This disease includes any type of heart abnormality present at birth and can impact your:

  • Heart valves
  • Heart’s interior walls
  • Blood vessels
  • Arteries and veins that carry blood to and from the heart

Doctors frequently detect heart defects before you are born or in early childhood. Children with these conditions get treatment and regular check-ups to monitor their heart health. However, sometimes a congenital heart defect isn't noticed until you reach your teenage years or even adulthood.

The most common congenital heart defects in adults include:

  • Atrial septal defect: A hole in the wall between the upper chambers of your heart.
  • Ventricular septal defect: A hole in the wall between the lower chambers of your heart.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot: A combination of four heart defects that affect blood flow.
  • Transposition of the great arteries: The two main arteries leaving the heart are switched, affecting blood circulation. 
  • Coarctation of the aorta: A narrowing of the main artery carrying blood from your heart to your body.
  • Pulmonary valve stenosis: Narrowing of the valve controlling blood flow from the heart to the lungs.
  • Aortic valve stenosis: Narrowing of the valve controlling blood flow from your heart to your body.

Symptoms of congenital heart disease

  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias)
  • Bluish or purplish skin discoloration
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Water retention that causes swelling
  • Heart murmur
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Fainting or dizziness

Diagnosing congenital heart disease

  • Physical exam
  • Prenatal screening
  • Echocardiography
  • ECG or EKG
  • Chest X-ray
  • Cardiac MRI or CT scan
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Genetic testing

Treating congenital heart disease

  • Monitoring and observation
  • Medications
  • Surgery
  • Catheter procedures
  • Implantable devices
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Cardiac rehabilitation

Request a consultation

At HonorHealth, our Adult Congenital Heart Program team is dedicated to managing every aspect of adult congenital heart disease. We understand the unique challenges of this condition and take an in-depth, multidisciplinary approach to help you live a long and healthy life. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call 602-386-1100.

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