A congenital heart defect is a malformation of the heart or major blood vessels that is present at birth. Because both repaired and unrepaired congenital heart defects frequently lead to problems later on in life, all adults with congenital heart disease need to be evaluated by an adult congenital heart disease specialist and require follow-up cardiac care throughout their lives.
The most common types of congenital heart defects diagnosed for the first time in adulthood are:
Some specific conditions that may be found in adults include:
Regardless of the type of problem present, individuals with a congenital heart defect have an increased risk of cardiac problems, including stroke, pulmonary hypertension, heart failure and arrhythmia.
In most cases, the cause of any particular congenital heart defect is unknown. The factors that can increase the chance of having a heart defect include:
Adults with congenital heart defects are different from adults with other heart problems like coronary artery disease. They are typically younger and have unique problems which vary depending on the particular heart condition with which they were born. This means that care for adults with congenital heart disease must be individualized.
Perhaps most important, adults with diagnosed congenital heart defects need routine checkups. These patients need to visit a primary care physician and cardiologist regularly, even when they are feeling well, to prevent problems from occurring.
To develop an individualized care strategy for your congenital heart disease, schedule an appointment with one of the expert cardiologists on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital, please call .
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