Tuesday, December 27, 2016
The Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one of a handful of programs in the nation to be awarded accreditation by the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA).
Access to quality of care for adults living with congenital heart disease (CHD) can be a challenge. Those with CHD need specialized care and testing that can be best provided by ACHD specialists. The ACHA ACHD Accreditation Program is a critical landmark as it will now provide ACHD patients a means to find a high quality ACHD program throughout the U.S. It will also provide a clear road map for providers to structure and build their ACHD programs under the auspices of ACHA as a patient advocacy organization.
“Although this primarily is an accreditation for Cincinnati Children’s, we see this as a Greater Cincinnati initiative. We will be collaborating with all of our colleagues in the adult health care systems in the region,” says Andrew Redington, MD, executive co-director of the Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute. “We are particularly grateful for the support and collaboration of our colleagues at the University of Cincinnati, who are working closely with us to provide much needed, multidisciplinary support to patients here at Cincinnati Children’s and also at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.”
A congenital heart defect is a problem with the heart’s structure that is present at birth. Common defects include holes in the heart and misplaced, malformed or missing valves, vessels of chambers of the heart. There are now more than a million American adults with congenital heart defects. At least half of them should be seeing a congenital heart expert on a regular basis. Only 10 to 20 percent, however, receive appropriate surveillance to help them avoid complications.
The Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute’s program offers a unique treatment approach for teens and adults with congenital heart disease.
“Patients who were treated for congenital heart disease need to remain under the expert care of cardiac specialists, trained in congenital heart disease, to ensure that their complex needs are met and that problems are addressed quickly and effectively,” says Gruschen Veldtman, MD, director of adult congenital heart disease at Cincinnati Children’s. “Statistics show that if ACHD patients have heart surgery in non-specialist centers, their risk of death increases over three-fold. “We provide patients with a holistic approach providing not only state-of-the-art medical and surgical care but also education and psychological support to help them enjoy the best possible outcomes throughout adolescence and adulthood.”
The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) in conjunction with leading adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) providers across the country developed criteria for ACHA ACHD Accreditation. Those adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) need specialized care and testing that can only effectively be provided by ACHD specialists. Through the ACHA ACHD Accreditation Program, we enable those with CHD to receive quality care despite where they may live. As care within the CHD world has been evolving within the past 25 years, we are moving forward to ensure that quality care and access is available to all patients, and when they are unable to be seen locally within an ACHD center, they are able to work with accredited providers to close the gap in care. For more information about ACHA or the ACHA ACHD Accreditation Program, please call 888-921-ACHA or visit us online.