Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Ochsner: An International Leader in Heart Care

Ochsner Health System is a leader in heart care, with an international, national and regional reputation for excellence. Through the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, we offer advanced cardiac programs that meet the highest standards in patient care, research and education. Ochsner provides a continuum of patient care – diagnosis, treatment, surgery, non-surgical catheter-based procedures and rehabilitation – unmatched in our region.

Among the Institute’s highly specialized programs is the Ochsner Adult Congenital Heart Program.

Specialized Care for Adults with Congenital Heart Disease

Our Adult Congenital Heart Program provides highly specialized, comprehensive care for adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD). Because of the benefits of modern medical care, ACHD patients are living longer than ever before and face unique health challenges throughout their lives. Not all congenital heart disease is detected at birth. About 10 percent of patients reach adulthood before their defect is discovered. The number of Americans with ACHD is more than a million and growing each year.

Patients with ACHD require specialized care. They may be at a higher risk for heart arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death and other health issues. The American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association recommends that a cardiologist with advanced ACHD training evaluate all ACHD patients.

It is also recommended that ACHD patients be treated at a specialized, multidisciplinary adult congenital heart center like ours. An American College of Cardiology conference on ACHD called for increased education for ACHD patients and specialized follow-up care throughout their lives. 

ACHD: A Wide Range of Severity

ACHD patients can be sorted into three groups based on the complexities of their heart defects--simple, moderate severity and great complexity. Cardiologists have outlined the specific conditions and diagnoses for each patient group. The American College of Cardiology recommends that ACHD patients with moderate severity be seen periodically at an adult congenital heart disease center. Patients with great complexity should be seen more regularly.