Adult Congenital Heart Disease
The Duke adult congenital heart disease program is one of the Southeast’s top referral centers for adults with congenital heart defects. Each year at our clinics throughout the Triangle, our specialists offer specialized care and advanced treatments to more than 1,200 adults who are born with complex congenital heart conditions that involve heart chambers, heart valves or major blood vessels. As one of the world’s major training centers, we share our expertise with physicians worldwide.
Treating adult congenital heart disease
Our program was among the first to recognize and respond to the growing demand for ongoing treatment of adult congenital heart disease. Our highly skilled team is expertly equipped to manage and treat heart abnormalities including atrial septal defect, bicuspid aortic valve, coarctation of the aorta, heart failure, arrhythmia, patent foramen ovale, and others.
Whether your heart abnormalities are structural or functional, common or complex, we know your needs are unique, potentially frequent, and often long-lasting. Our goal is to provide you with the broad range of care you need to overcome the hurdles of congenital heart defects and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
Choose a Duke heart clinic for treatment of your congenital heart disease because we offer:
- Top-ranked care. U.S. News and World Report ranks Duke Heart Center among the best in the nation, based on our patients’ survival rates, the number of procedures we perform, and the quality of our support services.
- Minimally invasive approaches, shorter recoveries. Our interventional cardiologists have helped advance the use of specialized interventional catheterization for adult congenital heart diseases that have historically required open surgery. As a result, you recover faster.
- Highly-skilled surgeons. Our two specialized congenital heart surgeons have years of training and experience that only comes from treating high volumes of patients. Studies show that performing more surgeries translates to better results for you.
- An expert team. In addition to cardiologists and surgeons, our imaging technicians, nurses, pharmacists and others are trained specifically to evaluate and treat structural and functional congenital heart defects in adult patients like you.
- Access to new treatments. Our ongoing research and clinical trials ensure you have access to more treatment options, sometimes before they are available elsewhere. Some of the latest advances include catheter-based devices now used to treat atrial septal defect, two types of percutaneous pulmonary valves used as an alternative to surgery, and the new, FDA-approved muscular ventricular septal defect (VSD) device, which is only available at a handful of heart centers nationwide.
- Ready access to information. We make sure you are up to date on test results, diagnoses, procedures and more through Duke MyChart, as well as a personal health “passport” booklet. This keeps your personal information easily accessible when you require care.
- More precise diagnoses, lower costs. As one of the largest MRI programs in the world in terms of volume, our MRI technicians have the resources and the skill to precisely pinpoint heart abnormalities. Our experience has led to fewer diagnostic catheterizations and lower costs for patients.
- Comprehensive care. Our programs address more than your congenital heart defect. We offer vocational counseling, cardiac rehabilitation and assessments for pregnancy and athletics.
- Genetics screening and counseling. Our genetic heart disease program offers genetic testing and counseling to patients who have a family history or have been diagnosed with an inherited heart condition including chromosomal abnormalities, genetic cardiomyopathies and connective tissue disorders.
ADULT CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE
Maintain a regular heartbeat, prevent blood clots, improve the heart’s pumping ability or lower blood pressure.
- Open heart surgery. May be necessary to repair certain complex congenital heart defects. These procedures are performed by surgeons who have helped establish national standards for treating adult congenital heart disease.
- Minimally invasive procedures. Small incisions are used, when possible, to reduce scarring and pain, and shorten your recovery. We may use this approach to close holes in the heart (atrial septal defects) or to repair or replace heart valves (mitral, tricuspid, or aortic).
Fix the heart without opening the chest so you recover faster while experiencing less pain and blood loss. Catheter-based procedures include:
- Balloon valvuloplasty expands a narrowed heart valve
- Closure of arteriovenous malformations. A substance is inserted in the artery to close off an abnormal connection between an artery and vein.
- Stent therapy for coarctation of the aorta. A balloon expands a narrowed aorta, and a small metal cylindrical stent is inserted to keep the aorta open.
ADULT CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE
Your diagnostic testing is performed by trained experts who specialize in imaging adults with complex congenital heart defects.
Contrast dye is injected into the heart so detailed images of the heart and arteries can be taken.
Provides images of the moving heart without exposure to radiation.
Radio waves, magnets and a computer create still and moving images of the heart and vessels. We are expanding the use of MRI as opposed to radiation, which can be harmful in patients who require frequent and lifelong testing.
X-rays create 3-D image of your heart.
Catheters are threaded into the heart to record the heart's electrical activity.
Evaluates the heart’s pumping function. A chemical agent is injected into the bloodstream and a highly sensitive camera records the heart’s ability to take in blood, both at rest and during exercise.