Growing population of adult survivors of congenital heart disease requires specialized care

Philadelphia, PA, February 8, 2011 — For the one in 200 adults in Western societies born with congenital heart disease, adult survivors face a lifelong process of medical interactions. Treatments received during neonatal, childhood, and adolescent years affect future adult events. In the January/February issue of Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases ten articles explore our current understanding of adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) in survivors.

This issue of Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases is dedicated to exploring the path to and current understanding of lifelong congenital cardiac disease as displayed in adult survivors. “In recognition of ACHD care currently holding potential as one of the largest and most complex growth sectors within both pediatric and adult cardiology, and as a model of long-term disease care, a greater understanding of such a continuum of outcomes and care potentials carries import for all readers,” observes Michael J. Landzberg, MD, Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, in his introduction to the issue. “By defining and recognizing the time-dependent influences of past treatments on the aging ACHD population within a world of external forces, we learn both how to suggest refinements in pediatric interventions for children born today with congenital heart disease (CHD) so as to improve their future from that experienced by current adults, as well as where we must innovate to improve even later outcomes for current adults with CHD.”

From Numbers to Guidelines

Ariane J. Marellia and Michelle Gurvitz

Advances in pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery have resulted in a change in the mortality, prevalence, and age distribution of patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). The authors review the changing epidemiology of CHD and the impact of these trends on health services utilization and delivery in this population.

The Whole Adult Congenital Heart Disease Patient

Adrienne H. Kovacs and Amy Verstappen

Adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) have unique medical and psychosocial needs. They require lifelong cardiac surveillance from medical providers with training and expertise in the care of adults with CHD. Consideration of the “whole” patient demands recognition of the unique medical and psychosocial challenges of adults with CHD.

Adult Congenital Heart Disease: Surgical Advances and Options

Kristine J. Guleserian

Increased success in treating CHD has resulted in a fast-growing and challenging population of adults with CHD given their unique anatomy and physiology coupled with the inevitable effects of aging. A multidisciplinary approach appears to be the best strategy for these highly complex patients.

Advances in Transcatheter Interventions in Adults With Congenital Heart Disease

Jeffery Meadows and Michael J. Landzberg

This article provides a broad review of the important advances in cardiac catheterization that have occurred over the past decade as they pertain to the adult with congenital heart disease, with an emphasis on recent interventional tools and techniques that have revolutionized this exciting field.

Intensive Care of the Adult Patient With Congenital Heart Disease

Catherine K. Allan

The authors review some of the common multiorgan system effects of longstanding congenital heart disease (eg, renal and hepatic dysfunction, coagulation abnormalities, arrhythmias) as well as some of the unique cardiopulmonary physiology of this patient population.

Electrophysiology and Adult Congenital Heart Disease: Advances and Options

Sylvia Abadir and Paul Khairy

This review focuses on recent advances and emerging therapeutic options that are providing safer solutions and increasing the effectiveness with which arrhythmias may be managed in adults with congenital heart disease, spanning pharmacotherapy to innovative interventions.

Advances in Imaging: The Impact on the Care of the Adult With Congenital Heart Disease

Craig Broberga and Alison Knauth Meadows

The evaluation and monitoring of the adult with CHD are demanding and ever evolving. Imaging tools are critical to the medical management and planning for reintervention. Echocardiography, multislice spiral CT, and cardiac MRI all hold an important and unique role among these imaging modalities. Advances over the past decade have been tremendous, and future advances promise to be as important.

Management of Pregnancy in Patients with Congenital Heart Disease

Ian S. Harris

Most women with congenital heart disease are now expected to reach childbearing age and maternal cardiac disease is the major cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. This article describes the circulatory changes that occur during normal pregnancy and delivery, addresses the risks posed during pregnancy by specific congenital lesions, and reviews the current data on pregnancy outcomes in patients with individual congenital defects.

Transplantation in Adults With Congenital Heart Disease

Dana McGlothlin and Teresa De Marco

Adult congenital heart disease represents a growing population of patients being referred for heart, lung, and combined heart-lung transplantation. This group of patients presents multiple unique surgical and medical challenges to transplantation owing to their complex anatomy, multiple prior palliative and corrective procedures, frequently increased pulmonary vascular resistance, and often debilitated condition.

The Future of Adult Congenital Heart Disease Care in the United States

Gary Webb

Gary Webb, MD, Cincinnati Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Center, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Heart Institute, a leader in the international ACHD care and research community, offers his sense of mission and vision for where patients and caregivers dedicated to lifelong continuous advancement of care must go and what must be achieved together in the years and decades that are to follow. He calls for a strengthening and consolidation of ACHD research. “The days of single-center observational studies have largely passed. There will be a need for more basic science and translational research and for population-based and outcome research using data resources that are increasingly and abundantly available. The focus will need to be on designing multicenter research studies and earning research grant support. Research will need to get beyond the cardiac and cardiology aspects of ACHD research and become more holistic and inclusive.”

These articles appear in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, Volume 53, Number 4, (January/February 2011), Adult Congenital Heart Disease, Guest Editors Alison Knauth Meadows, MD, PhD and Michael J. Landzberg, MD, published by Elsevier.

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