When the heart or blood vessels near the heart do not develop normally before birth, a condition called congenital heart disease occurs (congenital means "existing at birth").

Heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, occurring in 1 out of every 120 live births. Most are detected at birth, but sometimes they do not present symptoms until adulthood.

Even when defects are repaired during infancy or childhood, these patients need to be carefully followed by a cardiologist throughout their entire lives because they are seldom "cured" by surgery and may continue to have cardiac problems.

Pediatric cardiologists take care of children with congenital heart disease, while adults will see a cardiologist who specializes in the care of adults with congenital cardiac defects.

Here at Inova, our patients have complete continuity of care from before birth to adulthood. Our team of specialists, including board-certified adult congenital cardiologists and congenital surgeons, has a thorough understanding of the natural history of congenital cardiac disease and the techniques necessary to address with surgery or interventional procedures at different points in time.

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Inova Heart and Vascular Institute experience

The Adult Congenital Heart Clinic at Inova Heart and Vascular Institute was one of the first programs in the country designed to care for this special patient population. Over 25 years later, it remains the only center of its kind in Northern Virginia.