Advances in the surgical treatment of congenital heart disease – heart problems that people are born with – has led to more people surviving with these disorders than ever before. Some adults may need another surgery to revise an operation that was performed when they were children. Others may have previously undiagnosed congenital heart disease that did not cause any symptoms until they became adults. For example, a septal defect (hole in the heart) can cause shortness of breath, arrhythmias, or stroke in adulthood.
It's not unusual for people with congenital heart disease who were treated as children to "get lost in the healthcare system" after age 25. It can also be difficult for adults to find cardiologists who are familiar with their particular anatomy and problems. At NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, adults with congenital heart disease receive their care from a team of specialists dedicated to treating adult patients. Such expertise is vital, and ensures that patients receive an accurate diagnosis and the most appropriate treatment.
Moreover, adult patients are able to receive their care in a hospital setting designed for adults, without having to stay in a children's hospital. Programs are also available for patients with special needs, such as pregnant women with congenital heart disease. Patients also have opportunities to participate in clinical trials assessing new treatment approaches and surgical outcomes.
Adult care for patients with congenital heart disease is available at both the Columbia and Weill Cornell campuses. The Joan and Michael Schneeweiss Center for Adult Congenital Heart Disease at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center is one of the nation's oldest, largest, and most experienced adult congenital heart disease programs. The Cornell Center for Adult Congenital Heart Disease at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center has a proud tradition of caring for patients using cutting-edge therapeutics and a collaborative, holistic approach to medicine.
Both centers includes physicians and surgeons who specialize in adult congenital heart disease and are experts in echocardiography, interventional cardiac catheterization, interventional electrophysiology, pulmonary hypertension, complex congenital heart surgery, and cardiac transplantation. New York-Presbyterian physicians and surgeons are able to help with even the most complex cases – many referred from other hospitals – restoring function and quality of life to people from all over the world.
Pediatric patients are cared for by physicians and surgeons at the Congenital Heart Center of NewYork-Presbyterian, a joint program between NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Phyllis and David Komansky Center for Children's Health. Each year, the Center's surgeons perform more than 700 cardiac operations, including some 175 heart repairs in newborn infants. Both NewYork-Presbyterian's adult and pediatric heart surgery programs are ranked among the top programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.