ACHD.Today, more patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) are growing to adulthood. Adults with CHD require lifelong follow-up for their cardiac condition. Routine check-ups are critical, even when you don’t have symptoms. This is because as a repaired heart from early childhood grows and adapts through life, negative consequences can occur. This includes heart rhythm disturbances, leaky valves, strokes, obstruction, or even heart failure.

A heart affected by congenital heart disease is unique. For that reason, the gold standard of care today for adults with CHD is regular follow-up and treatment by specialists trained in adult congenital heart disease (ACHD). In our Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Cincinnati Children’s, we offer that gold standard of care.

Of adults born with a heart defect, it’s estimated that less than 20 percent are receiving the specialist heart care they need from a cardiologist specially trained to care for their unique issues.

Specially Trained Experts

Our ACHD Program includes a team of internationally renowned faculty with a broad range of expertise in recognizing and treating issues related to CHD.

  • We treat teens and adults with all forms of CHD as well as those with problems related to prior surgery for CHD, including those born with single ventricular physiology who had Fontan operation.
  • Our team has experience in pulmonary hypertension, cardiovascular genetics and electrophysiology—all of which play a part in care for the adult with CHD.
  • We have expertise in consulting and treating women with CHD who are pregnant or considering pregnancy.

Adult Care at a Pediatric Hospital?

Studies show that surgical mortality rates are up to three times lower for adult CHD patients who have surgery in a children’s hospital, where they receive care from specialists trained in congenital heart disease. Our background in your pediatric condition combined with our knowledge of how that condition can look in an adult makes us the right place to choose for your ACHD care.

  • When you stay under the expert care of a CHD specialist as an adult, we are able to address any problems quickly and effectively. At Cincinnati Children’s, tests and therapies are done right here, regardless of age, so it’s easy and convenient for you.
  • Our one- and three-year survival rates for adult congenital heart surgery are 100 percent.
  • We provide not just treatment, but also education and support. We want you to experience the best health possible throughout the teen years and adulthood.

Our Treatment Approach

Our ACHD Program offers a model of care to ensure you receive the care you need, whether you’re a teenager or an adult. At our center, you’ll experience:

  • Ongoing, lifelong surveillance for patients with the most complex congenital heart defects in order to prevent complications 
  • Tailored education for your specific condition; this includes family planning and pregnancy, exercise goals, symptom identification, infection prevention and genetic counseling
  • A transition plan to help teens move smoothly to our high-quality adult program that will follow them throughout adulthood

ACHD Accredited Comprehensive Care Center

We are proud to be one of the first centers in the nation to earn accreditation from the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) as an ACHD Accredited Comprehensive Care Center. The ACHA ACHD Accreditation Program is a critical landmark, as adults with congenital heart disease now have a means to find a high-quality ACHD program throughout the U.S.