The Duke Adult Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Program offers advanced care to people living with congenital heart defects -- problems with the heart’s structure that are present from birth. Doctors across the country and beyond refer their patients to our board-certified adult congenital heart disease specialists who have completed advanced training and have years of experience treating adults with CHD. We offer the full range of therapies, catheterization procedures, and surgeries to treat problems that may arise in adults living with congenital heart disease.

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Specialized Care for Congenital Heart Disease

Advances in care have made it possible for children born with congenital heart disease to grow into healthy adults with long life expectancies. As experts in adult congenital heart care, our providers understand how your heart develops and ages, and we ensure you receive the best medical care at every stage of your life. 

Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult CHD Care
Typically, children with CHD start preparing to graduate to adult care around the age of 13. The formal transition takes place between ages 18 and 26. Timing depends on the person's specific condition, its complexity, and other factors. A pediatric cardiologist plays an important role in this shift.

Why Adults with CHD Need Sophisticated Care
General cardiologists may not be aware of the latest advances in CHD treatment or know how to meet your unique needs. That is why they often refer patients to programs like ours. Duke is a leading referral center in the Southeast. Even if you aren’t experiencing problems now, you may be at higher risk for complications and other heart-related concerns if you aren’t monitored regularly by an adult congenital heart specialist.

Innovative Treatments When a Problem Occurs

Our adult CHD team works with experts throughout Duke to ensure you receive the specialized care you need. We use advanced technologies to monitor your health so that we can identify complications as early as possible and provide effective treatments when needed to help you stay healthy and active. 

Arrhythmias and Electrophysiology
When abnormal heart rhythms develop, you may be referred to specially trained electrophysiologists who offer the latest treatment options with low complication rates. They also offer pacemakers and defibrillators, when needed.

Pulmonary Hypertension and Other Lung Problems
Pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the lungs, is common in adults with certain congenital heart defects. Our cardiologists and pulmonologists work together to identify and treat these lung problems. For advanced disease that cannot be treated with medical or catheter-based therapies, lung transplantation may be appropriate. 

Heart Failure and Heart Transplantation
Duke’s heart failure experts offer medical treatments, interventional procedures, assistive devices, and surgical options to manage heart failure. If a heart transplant is needed, Duke’s heart transplant program is among the top in the U.S. for the number of transplants performed each year. Our specialists champion techniques and technologies that expand the donor pool to provide more hearts to more people faster.

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Genetic Heart Disease Testing and Counseling
Our medical geneticists provide testing and counseling for inherited heart disease, which may not manifest until adulthood.

Liver Disease
People who have undergone Fontan surgery to treat a congenital heart defect are at higher risk for liver disease. Our liver specialists perform routine screenings to ensure liver complications are identified early and treated effectively.

Pregnancy Care
If you have CHD and are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, we may refer you to Duke maternal-fetal medicine doctors who specialized in caring for adults with CHD. They can offer advice about safe family planning and can evaluate whether you are at a higher risk of pregnancy complications and whether your child could inherit your condition.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers clinics for adults with congenital heart disease throughout the Triangle and beyond.

Why Choose Duke

Recognized for Excellence
Duke is one of 50 or fewer programs in the U.S. -- and one of only two in North Carolina -- that are accredited by the Adult Congenital Heart Association, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization working to improve care of adults with CHD. Accreditation recognizes a center’s high level of care based on personnel, specialized equipment, services, policies, and procedures. Research shows that accredited centers achieve better outcomes for their patients.

An Expert Team of Specialists
We meet weekly to discuss patients undergoing surgery or complex interventions and work together to ensure you receive the best care. In addition to our cardiologists and surgeons, our imaging technicians, nurses, physician assistants, and others are trained to evaluate and treat structural and functional congenital heart defects in adults. As a leading training center, we share our expertise with doctors worldwide.

Highly Skilled Surgeons
Our congenital heart disease surgeons have years of training and experience treating people with CHD. Studies show that performing more surgeries translates to better results for you. 

Cardiac Imaging and 3D Printing
Cutting-edge cardiac MRI, echocardiogram, and electrocardiogram technology allow your doctors to visualize complex congenital heart disease in new ways and to make a diagnosis without invasive procedures. Our cardiologists can use 3D printing to create a model of your heart to plan intricate surgeries or catheter-based interventions.

Minimally Invasive Approaches, Shorter Recoveries
Our interventional cardiologists helped advance the use of catheterization procedures for CHDs that historically required open surgery. Our adult congenital heart surgeons are well-versed in new, less-invasive surgical techniques, opt for smaller incisions when possible, and use robotic technology to increase accuracy. Hybrid procedures bring together the benefits of catheter-based and surgical procedures. These options mean you experience fewer complications, less discomfort, and a faster recovery.

Access to New Treatments
Our ongoing clinical trials ensure you have access to more treatment options, sometimes before they are available elsewhere. We participate in collaborative research groups like the Alliance for Adult Research in Congenital Cardiology to study new and better treatments. Some of the most recent advances we offer include catheter-based devices to treat sinus venous atrial septal defects, percutaneous pulmonary valves as an alternative to surgery, and self-expanding pulmonary valve protheses.

Support Services
We offer vocational counseling, cardiac rehabilitation, and assessments for athletes of all ages with congenital heart disease.

Best Heart Hospital in North Carolina

When it comes to your heart care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cardiology and heart surgery program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2024–2025.

This page was medically reviewed on 10/25/2022 by