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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). Learn more about Ochsner's care of congenital heart disease in children.

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:

Moderately Complex Congenital Heart Disease

If you have one of the conditions listed below, you should be seen every two years or more frequently at an ACDH program such as Ochsner’s.

Repaired or unrepaired conditions:

  • Anomalous Left Coronary Artery from Pulmonary Artery (ALCAPA)
  • Anomalous pulmonary venous drainage (partial or total)
  • Atrioventricular (AV) canal/septal defects (partial or complete)
  • Ostium primum or sinus venosus ASDs
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Ebstein’s anomaly
  • Infundibular right ventricular overflow obstruction (moderate to severe)
  • Pulmonary valve regurgitation (moderate to severe)
  • Pulmonic value stenosis (moderate to severe)
  • Sinus of Valsalva fistula/aneurysm
  • Subvalvar or supravalvar aortic stenosis
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD) with any valve problems and/or obstructions

Highly Complex Congenital Heart Disease

Patients with these conditions should to be seen every year or more frequently at an adult congenital heart program.

Repaired or unrepaired conditions:

  • Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries (ccTGA or L-TGA)
  • Double outlet ventricle
  • Mitral atresia
  • Pulmonary atresia (all forms)
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Shone’s syndrome
  • Single Ventricle – all forms (i.e. double-inlet ventricle, HLHS, HRHS, common/primitive ventricle)
  • Transposition of the Great Arteries  (d-TGA)
  • Triscuspid atresia
  • Truncus arterious/hemitruncus
  • Other abnormalities of AC connections (i.e. criss-cross heart, isomerism, heterotaxy syndromes)

All patients who have undergone any of the following procedures

  • Arterial switch procedure
  • Blalock-Taussig shunt
  • Any conduit(s), valved or nonvalved
  • Double-switch procedure
  • Fontan procedure
  • Mustard procedure
  • Norwood procedure
  • Rastelli procedure
  • Senning procedure

All patients with Eisenmenger syndome

All patients who are cyanotic (“blue babies”)