Adult Congenital Heart
Thanks to advances in medical, surgical and transcatheter interventions, the number of adults living with congenital heart disease (more than 1 million) in the United States is far greater than the number of children affected and is expected to continue to grow each year.
Transitioning From Pediatric to Adult Care
Thanks to advances in medical, transcatheter and surgical therapies, children born with a heart defect are now expected to live well into adulthood. We begin the process of preparing pediatric patients for the transition to adult care around age 12. Our approach to this transition features four milestone goals--helping patients understand their diagnosis and complexity of care, helping patients gain independence, making the move to adult care, and self-management.
Our team members received specialized training to understand and care for your heart and accommodate changes as you grow older. Our goal is to help transition age-appropriate adolescents (13 years of age or older) as well as adults living with congenital heart disease understand and successfully manage their own care, including:
• Description of congenital defect and prior surgeries
• Medications and preventing infection (endocarditis)
• Healthy lifestyle and exercise prescription
• Genetics, contraception and pregnancy
• Education and career choices
• Insurance counseling and financial resources
• Support systems available
• Planning advance directives, power of attorney
Getting the Right Care
While the medical care and treatment for a congenital heart defect you received as an infant or child helped make things better, few defects are “cured." As an adolescent or adult with congenital heart disease, you need specialized, lifelong follow-up care provided by a regional Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) center of excellence.
An ACHD center constitutes the medical ‘home’ required to identify and/or address not only the impact of a congenital heart defect, but also late onset complications commonly encountered. As a result, this type of specialized ACHD care has been demonstrated to improve quality of life and outcomes for adult congenital heart patients.
Meet Our Provider Team
Our adult congenital heart disease program is led by Stephen Cook, MD, FACC, a board certified specialist in adult congenital heart disease. Our multidisciplinary team includes two specially-trained adult congenital cardiologists, a dedicated care coordinator and medical social worker, as well as congenital heart surgeons, interventionalist and electrophysiologist.
We collaborate extensively with Spectrum Health Medical Group's board-certified maternal fetal medicine specialists, treating both mothers with congenital heart disease, and their growing babies at the same time.