Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program
Transition Program for Teens with CHD

Transitioning Teens with CHD to Adult Care

Congenital heart disease (CHD) requires lifelong follow-up to prevent complications such as arrhythmias, heart failure, infection and stroke. Cincinnati Children’s understands how challenging it can be to move from pediatric to adult care. 

Optimal transition from pediatric to adult care doesn’t just mean transferring care from a pediatric cardiologist to an adult congenital cardiologist. It also usually means being able to take responsibility for making your own appointments, maintaining insurance, filling prescriptions and taking medications, being able to explain your medical history to other clinicians, and more. As they say, “Adulting is hard!”

Ongoing transition education and planning often starts at age 12 years or even before, with much of this being integrated within pediatric cardiology care. The process is individualized so each teen can move smoothly from a dependent role in their healthcare to one of independence and self-care. Each patient brings different abilities and maturity. Therefore, the process, and its timing, vary widely between patients.

Who Is a Candidate?

We work with heart patients 12 years and older who are being followed by a Cincinnati Children’s physician.

What to Expect

  • When: We evaluate how ready you are for transition between the ages of 12–18. We do this for all CHD patients seen at Cincinnati Children's (or by referral).
  • Where: We evaluate teens for transition and provide education during routine CHD clinic visits. You may be given information on health education seminars and support groups for both teens and their caregivers, or other educational or community resources.
  • The plan: We develop a plan with you that is specific to each teen. The plan is based on each patient’s learning needs and transition goals. The caregiver is an important part of the transition process, and we offer support to them as well. We aim to make sure teens have good knowledge of their medical condition, including any corrective surgery, ongoing medical management, lifestyle choices and healthcare.

Additional Resources for Teens