Are you an adult who was born with a heart problem? Do you know someone who was?
Being born with a heart problem is a challenge you face throughout life. Even if you had treatment as a child, your heart condition can still affect your life in many different ways. You may wonder if your heart condition is affecting you now, or if other non-heart conditions may be related. You might not know other people with a heart problem similar to yours. You might not know how to get care now or if your doctors will understand your childhood heart treatment.
The OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute has Oregon's only program designed specifically to care for adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD), meaning they were born with a heart problem.
A full team of adult congenital heart disease specialists
All our M.D. heart specialists have years of advanced training in ACHD, in addition to their cardiology training. Our doctors are certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine as specialists in ACHD. In addition, they received extra training in cardiac imaging, heart failure and transplant, and pregnancy for people living with ACHD.
We also have a nurse practitioner who specializes in ACHD. A nurse practitioner is a nurse with advanced training and qualifications to provide health care. Our nurse practitioner has years of experience in ACHD and is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center to care for teens and adults.
Caring for all your adult congenital heart disease needs
If you were born with a heart problem, you may need regular checkups. You might need medication. Or, you might need more advanced care. At OHSU, our adult congenital heart disease clinic can help with all these and more.
If you need special consideration for any ACHD related problem such as your heart rhythm, special imaging, cardiac catheterization, heart surgery, or heart care during pregnancy, the doctors at OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute have experience knowing what to look for. You might need regular tests, such as an echocardiogram or an MRI of the heart. It is important to work with doctors who understand ACHD, so the tests are run correctly and provide accurate information on your condition.
We also work closely with the pediatric cardiologists at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital through weekly care conferences. These pediatric cardiologists have known some of our patients since they were born.
Help for living with heart disease
Many individuals find that having a heart problem affects their daily activities, their sense of well-being, or their ability to get pregnant. Research shows that people with adult congenital heart disease are more likely to be anxious or depressed than people born with healthy hearts.
The OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute takes care of more than your physical well-being. We have one of the few psychologists in North America who specializes in congenital heart disease. Dr. Adrienne Kovacs is an expert on the challenges of being born with a heart problem living with adult congenital heart disease, switching from childhood to adult heart care and much more. She helps people with ACHD cope with the physical, emotional and life challenges of living with a heart problem. Getting assistance with these challenges can help your general health.
You can see Dr. Kovacs with a referral from one of OHSU's adult congenital heart disease specialists. If you are concerned about your heart condition, you can contact the OHSU Adult Congenital Heart Disease clinic.
Pregnancy care for adult congenital heart disease
Having a heart condition can affect your pregnancy. At the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute, our doctors are experienced at helping you cope with any challenges. OHSU also has an expert team of pregnancy specialists. Our cardiologists work closely with them to make sure you get care you need during pregnancy with adult congenital heart disease.
Read one patient's story about pregnancy with adult congenital heart disease.
The most advanced treatment for adult congenital heart disease
Our clinic is the only place in Oregon offering certain procedures to treat adult congenital heart disease. Because OHSU is Oregon's only academic health center, or teaching hospital, our specialists are also experts in heart disease research. You may be asked if you would like to participate in a research study. We work with other top research hospitals around the world and are aware of the latest treatments. Your OHSU cardiologist can talk with you about any new treatments that might be right for you.