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Adult Congenital Heart Disease: Overview
Adult congenital heart disease (CHD) is a type of defect in one or more structures of the heart or the blood vessels that occur before the birth. Adults with CHD falls under two categories: patients who have been recognized, treated and followed during the paediatric years and subsequently require the follow-up during the adulthood and previously unrecognized adults who may or may not be symptomatic at the time of diagnosis.
Despite the complexity of the patient population suffering from CHD and a well-defined requirement for the subspecialty care, the average adult with CHD is followed by a generalist. Therefore, it is necessary that the physicians must be familiar with the unique clinical presentations of these patients and have the general understanding to facilitate the proper timing of treatments and surgical interventions.
What are the Types of Adult Congenital Heart Disease?
The most common congenital heart disease that affects adults are:
- Congenital Valve defects
- Pulmonary Hypertension
- Atrial and Ventricular Septal Defects
- Patent Foramen Ovale
- Anomalous Pulmonary Veins
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus
- Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA)
- Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
- Ebstein Anomaly
- Pulmonary Artery Stenosis
- Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)
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Researchers aren’t exactly sure about what causes the congenital heart diseases, but they think certain medical conditions, medications and genetics may play a role in the beginning of the defects in heart.
Risk Factors of Adult Congenital Heart Disease:
It is estimated that, there are about 750,000 adults with Congenital Heart Disease in the United States. Often, the congenital heart disease results from the problems arising during your development, usually before you were born. Certain environmental factors and genetics may play an important role in the development of your heart defect. These include the following:
- German Measles (rubella)
Symptoms of Adult Congenital Heart Disease:
In adults, the symptoms of the congenital heart disease include the following:
- Poor exercise tolerance
- Shortness of breath
- A bluish tint to the skin
- Dizziness or fainting
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Swelling of the body tissue or organs
If you experience worrisome symptoms like chest pain or breathlessness, then seek immediate medical help.
- Who should be seen by an adult congenital heart disease expert?
- If you were born with heart disease, regardless if you had heart surgery in the past or not, you should be seen by a specialist in Adult Congenital Heart Disease. The frequency of your visits depends on the type of your heart disease and symptoms.
- How common is the adult congenital heart disease?
- More than a million adults in the U.S. will be living with repaired heart defects in the next few years. By the year 2020, it is expected that more adults than children will need open heart procedures to correct congenital heart defects.
- How do I make an appointment with the best cardiologist in India?
- All you have to do is send us your medical report and be rest assured. We will choose the best suitable surgeon for you, after consulting the experts.
- As an adult with congenital heart disease, do I need regular follow-up care?
- Most adults who had heart surgery as a child should see a heart doctor for life.
- Early warning signs to see a doctor:
- Heart racing
- Extra heart beats
- Trouble keeping up with usual exercise routines
- Feeling easily exhausted, for example when walking up stairs.
- Early warning signs to see a doctor:
- Visit a doctor for these non-cardiac situations:
- Birth control
- Exercise restrictions
- Learning disabilities
- Exceptions: Adults with some congenital conditions likely do not need to see a doctor if heart defects were treated before irreversible heart or lung damage developed. Those conditions include:
- Atrial septal defect (ASDs)
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
- Ventricular septal defects (VSDs)
Diagnosis and Treatments for Adult Congenital Heart Disease:
If your doctor thinks that you have a congenital heart disease, then he or she will perform a physical exam by listening to your heartbeat with a stethoscope. The possible tests to diagnose the CHD in adults includes the following:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Chest X-ray
- Cardiac Catherization
- Cardiac CT scan or MRI scan
- Exercise stress test
- Transesophageal Echocardiogram
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans
- Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)
Treatments for Adult Congenital Heart Disease:
Treatment options for the adult congenital heart disease varies as per the severity of the CHD. Your doctor may recommend the following treatments for the congenital heart disease:
Regular checkups: The minor heart defects may only require periodic checkups with your doctor to ensure that your condition doesn’t worsen.
Medications: Mild congenital heart defects can be treated with medications that help the heart to work efficiently. The doctor may prescribe you medications to prevent the blood from clotting and helps to control an irregular heartbeat.
Implantable heart devices: A pacemaker is a device to control your heart rate. An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator or ICD will correct the life-threatening irregular heartbeats. Thus, the implantable heart devices are used to help the complications linked with the CHD.
Special Procedures using Catheters: Some CHDs can be repaired using the catherization techniques that allow repairs to be done without opening the chest and heart surgically. During these procedures, the doctor inserts a thin tube or a catheter into a leg vein and guide it to the heart with the help of X-ray images. Once the thin tube is positioned at the site of the defect, the tiny tools are threaded through the catheter into the heart for repairing the defects.
Open Heart Surgery: Your doctor may recommend open-heart surgery, if the catheter procedures aren’t enough to fix the heart defects.
Heart Transplant: Heart transplant will be recommended for adults with serious heart defects.
Why consider India for treating the Adult Congenital Heart Disease?
India has a world-class facility specializing in providing the comprehensive care for adults with simple and complex congenital heart disease. The Indian surgeons are well-qualified and experienced in performing the cardiological interventions and complex open heart surgery. The hospitals in India have a well accomplished team of professionals that provide excellent medical care and are available to the patients all round the clock.
If you are really seeking treatments for the Adult Congenital Heart Disease in India, kindly fill up the form for a free consultation with our expert cardiologists. You will be provided with thorough analysis and suggestions regarding the Adult Congenital Heart Disease you are seeking for.
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