Our physicians offer care to adults newly diagnosed with congenital heart disease and those who were treated in childhood. About 10 percent of the population born with a heart defect do not have symptoms until adulthood.
Treatment is based on the severity and type of the congenital heart defect. Some mild heart defects do not require any treatment. Others can be managed with medications or treated with minimally invasive procedures or surgery.
Fortunately, an increasing number of congenital heart defects that once required surgery can now be treated with less invasive procedures. These procedures include:
- Atrial septal defect (ASD) closure: An ASD is an abnormal opening between the two upper chambers of the heart that causes blood to leak from one chamber to the other. A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is used to insert a small disk-like implantable device into the groin. This implant is a clam-shell like device that is threaded through the catheter and then expanded across the atrial septal defect, permanently closing the opening.
- Coarctation of the aorta: The aorta is the major artery that carries blood away from the heart to the body. With this defect, the aorta is narrowed. In some instances, a catheter can be inserted through the groin and a balloon can be inflated around the area of narrowing. This causes stretching of the narrowed area and allows for better blood flow. Some patients may need a permanent stent placed in the narrowed area of the aorta which can also be placed by catheter.