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Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)

Ochsner is dedicated to providing a seamless approach to treating children and adults with congenital heart disease (CHD). With a nationally recognized, board-certified pediatric congenital cardiac surgeon on our team, Ochsner’s is the preeminent cardiovascular center for children and adults with CHD in the Gulf South.

Why Ochsner for Care of Congenital Heart Disease in Children?

When it comes to your heart or your child's heart, getting the best care available is all that matters.  Our highly trained team includes a world-renowned cardiac surgeon, interventional cardiologists, imaging specialists, pediatric anesthesiologists, nurses and critical care cardiac specialists. Our team also includes perfusionists, professionals who use heart-lung machines during cardiac surgery.

Specializing in neonatal cardiac surgery for newborns, pediatric cardiac surgery and heart transplantation, our team uses the most advanced technology to evaluate, diagnose, treat and manage a variety of conditions, including

  • Heart failure and cardiomyopathy
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Atrial septal defect
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Ventricular septal defects
  • Bicuspid aortic valve

In addition, Ochsner’s around-the-clock Flight Care Communication Center is capable of coordinating and dispatching transport services for critically ill neonatal and pediatric patients. We can get your little one to Ochsner quickly and safely, providing expert care along the way.

Why Ochsner for Care of Congenital Heart Disease in Adults?

Congenital Heart disease is a heart disease you are born with – not something you acquire later in life. Many adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD) believe they've either outgrown their condition or that they were cured by treatment they received as a child. Studies show, however, that less than 30% [1] of adults born with CHD are receiving the care they need from specialty ACHD programs. Patients who don’t receive monitoring in adulthood are at a higher risk for irregular heartbeats, blood clots, congestive heart failure, heart attacks, and even sudden cardiac death. Ochsner is the only program in the region treating adults with congenital heart patients in an adult setting.  

Ochsner’s internationally renowned team includes advanced imaging specialists with expertise in CT, MRI and ECHO as well as interventional cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, pulmonary hypertension specialists, and heart failure and transplant cardiologists, all with special knowledge about CHD. 

Over the years, we have become recognized as a referral center for complex patients with congenital heart defects. Our physicians hold an additional board certification in adult congenital heart disease. 

Keep in mind that ACHD heart problems are different from “typical” adult heart problems. You need a team of cardiologists and doctors who specialize in ACHD.

Conditions and Congenital Heart Disease Care Guidelines

​These days, the majority of babies born with CHD can expect to live into adulthood and enjoy happy, productive, lives. Still, as many as 85% of ACHD patients have moderate-to-severe defects that have been repaired but not completely corrected. Lifelong monitoring is essential. See below for a list of conditions with care guidelines recommended by the Adult Congenital Heart Association.

Ochsner offers state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures, including:

  • Echocardiography and fetal echocardiography
  • Cardiac MRI
  • Cardiac CT
  • Stress Testing
  • CPX (cardiopulmonary stress testing)
  • Cardiac Catheterizations ­(diagnostic and interventional)
  • EP Tests (electrophysiology studies)

Family Planning and High-Risk Pregnancy Management

What forms of birth control can be risky for women with complex CHD? Will having a baby put your health at risk? Can a mother or a father pass down their condition to their children? At Ochsner, we offer comprehensive treatment for patients facing family planning issues and require high-risk pregnancy management. You have questions. Ochsner doctors have answers.

Protecting Your Heart From Infection

Is endocarditis (heart infection) something you really have to think about? Should you take antibiotics before you go to the dentist or undergo any other procedure? Endocarditis is a serious condition caused by bacteria growing in the heart. Even if your heart condition has been repaired or hasn't caused symptoms, you may be at risk. If you’re not sure if you need to take special precautions, you need to ask your doctor.

Know Your Heart

Take charge of your heart health. Make sure you know and understand the following:

  • Details about your heart condition
  • Your past treatment, test results and surgical records
  • Information about your medications, including possible side effects
  • Exercise guidelines
  • Work restrictions, if applicable
  • When you should contact your doctor

[1] Marelli AJ, Mackie AS, Ionescu-Ittu R, Rahme E, Pilote L. CHD in the general population: changing prevalence and age distribution. Circulation. 2007;115:163–172.

ACHD Care Guidelines: How Often Should You See A Doctor?

Simple Congenital Heart Disease

If you have one of the conditions listed below, you should have periodic heart checks. A visit to an ACDH program such as Ochsner’s is recommended to verify your diagnosis and health status. Typically, we follow patients with their local cardiologist providing comprehensive care.

Repaired conditions:

Repaired or unrepaired conditions: