Congenital heart disease - Adult

What is it?

Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in the U.S. 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