Adult congenital heart disease refers to heart disease caused by a structural heart defect that was present at birth. In some cases, the defect was detected and repaired and is now causing symptoms in adulthood. In others, the defect was never detected.
At Dignity Health Southern California, our heart care services cover everything from prevention to chronic disease management to advanced diagnostic procedures and treatments. To learn more about our expertise and personal care for adult congenital heart disease at one of our convenient locations in Long Beach, Northridge, Downtown LA, Glendale, and San Bernardino, Find a Doctor today.
Common Congenital Heart Defects
The most common congenital heart defects are:
- Ventricular septal defect, a hole in the wall that separates the heart’s two lower chambers. It is the most common heart birth defect, but can also occur in adults who have had heart surgery or a heart attack.
- Atrial septal defect, a hole in the wall that separates the heart’s two top chambers causing oxygen-rich blood to mix with oxygen-poor blood
- Tetralogy of Fallot, a condition in which four (or sometimes five) specific defects involving the right and left lower chambers of the heart, the aorta, and the pulmonary artery disrupt proper blood flow
- Patent ductus arteriosus, when the ductus arteriosus blood vessel does not close after birth as it should
- Eisenmenger’s syndrome, when an opening develops between the two lower chambers of the heart allowing oxygenated blood to flow backward, into the lungs
- Coarctation of the aorta, when the large artery that carries oxygen-rich blood to the body becomes narrowed in one small area
- Pulmonary stenosis (pulmonary valve stenosis), a stiffened heart valve that blocks blood from flowing to the lungs from the lower-right heart chamber
- Transposition of the great arteries, when the aorta, which should be attached to the heart’s left ventricle, and the pulmonary artery, which should be attached to the right ventricle, are reversed
- Ebstein’s anomaly, when the heart valve separating the lower-right chamber from the upper-right one develops in the wrong position, causing the lower chamber to become small and the upper chamber to become large
Adult Congenital Heart Disease Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of adult congenital heart disease will depend on the type of heart defect involved and whether or not it was originally treated in childhood. Symptoms can include:
- Heart murmurs
- Clubbing of the fingers and toes
- Blueness of the skin (cyanosis) during exercise
- Leg weakness
Treatment of Adult Congenital Heart Disease in Southern California
Strategies for the treatment and maintenance of adult congenital heart disease depend on the type of heart defect involved. Mild heart abnormalities may not need treatment, while treatment for advanced cases will be determined by your doctor. You will most likely need routine follow-up care and monitoring. Additional treatments may include medications, lifestyle modifications, or surgery. Talk to your doctor today to determine an effective treatment plan.
Dignity Health provides comprehensive treatment and maintenance strategies for adult congenital heart disease in Southern California.