Approximately one out of every 110 U.S. babies is born every year with a congenital heart defect (CHD). This type of birth defect affects the heart’s structure and function. The condition can be life threatening.
Some congenital heart defects are detected in infancy or childhood. Some people are unaware they have a heart condition until problems arise later in life.
Whether you’ve known about your heart problem since childhood or are just now learning that you have a congenital heart defect, the heart experts at MUSC Health’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program can help.
Adult Congenital Heart Disease Care at the MUSC Health Heart & Vascular Center: Why Choose Us?
At MUSC Health, we offer the only comprehensive program in South Carolina that provides specialized lifelong care for children and adults born with heart defects. The medical experts at our Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program work hand-in-hand with pediatric heart specialists at MUSC Children’s Health to ensure you receive the highest quality care.
When you come to MUSC Health for congenital heart disease care, you benefit from:
- Only ACHD Accredited Comprehensive Care Center in the Southeast: We received accreditation by meeting the Adult Congenital Heart Association’s criteria, which includes medical services and personnel requirements, and going through a rigorous accreditation process, both of which were developed over a number of years through a collaboration with doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, and ACHD patients. MUSC Health is one of only a dozen centers in the country with ACHA’s gold-standard, seal of approval.
- Dedicated Team of Congenital Heart Experts: To provide you with the best possible heart care, we bring together experts who have specialized training in treating congenital heart defects.
- All-Inclusive Care: We are one of the few medical centers in the country with adult and pediatric congenital heart disease programs in one central location. Here, you have easy access to all members of your health care team.
- Depth of Experience: Our congenital cardiologists have dedicated their careers to helping people with congenital heart defects live longer, more fulfilling lives. MUSC Health is proud to have one of the few doctors in the country who is board certified in adult congenital cardiology.
- Support for Non-Cardiac Procedures: People with certain heart defects may need to take special precautions before undergoing medical procedures, such as dental surgery. You can safely undergo these procedures at MUSC Health under the watchful care of your congenital heart disease team.
- Innovative Treatments: Our standing as South Carolina’s only academic medical institution, as well as our doctors’ involvement in clinical trials, may offer you the opportunity to try new heart treatments not available elsewhere in the state.
- Heart Transplant Expertise: Should you need a heart transplant, MUSC Health is the place to be. We are the state’s only center with the specialized medical expertise to perform heart transplants. Learn more about heart transplants at MUSC Health.
Transition Clinic & New Patients
If you were diagnosed with a congenital heart defect in childhood, you likely have been under the care of pediatric heart specialists for decades. Now that you’re maturing, it’s time to make a switch to doctors who specialize in treating adults with your type of heart condition.
At MUSC Health, we know that you might be nervous about this change. Our transition clinic smooths the transition from pediatric to adult cardiology care. We also help newly-diagnosed adults navigate this sometimes confusing world of cardiac care.
During visits at the transition clinic, you meet with an adult congenital heart disease specialist to learn more about:
- Your heart condition and treatments and how these might change with age.
- Age-related cardiac problems, such as coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.
- Secondary conditions that affect heart health, such as diabetes.
- Family planning and contraception.
- Genetic counseling.
- Mental health counseling for depression, stress, and anxiety.
- Exercise, nutrition, and weight management.
- Scheduling medical appointments and procedures.
- Managing and taking your prescription medications.
- Navigating health care insurance.
Your CHD Team at MUSC Health
At the Heart & Vascular Center, congenital heart disease experts from both adult and pediatric programs work together to ensure you receive the care you need. Our team understands the complex nature of congenital heart defects, as well as the medical and social issues faced by young adults.
Members of your CHD team may include:
- Adult and pediatric cardiologists
- Cardiac surgeons
- Electrophysiologists (heart rhythm experts)
- Interventional cardiologists
- Interventional radiologists
- Cardiac nurse practitioners
CHD & Family Planning
In addition to heart specialists, your CHD team also includes obstetricians, genetic counselors, and social workers. These specialists can help you navigate important life decisions such as starting a family and the genetic risk (if any) of your child having a heart defect.
Your congenital heart disease team works collaboratively to develop a treatment plan that meets your specific ongoing health needs. Congenital heart disease treatment options may include: