Adult Congenital Heart Association

acha

Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) refers to abnormalities in structure and function of the heart and great vessels that are present at birth. These defects vary in significance and severity.

Some examples of CHD include:

  • Atrial Septal Defect
  • Ventricular Septal Defect
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Pulmonary Stenosis
  • Aortic Coarctation
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Ebstein’s Anomaly
  • Transposition of the Great Arteries

Children with CHD may present with blueish discoloration of their skin due to inadequate oxygenation (cyanosis), abnormal heart sounds called murmurs, loss of consciousness, poor feedings, and shortness of breath.  With modern medical advances and treatment options including surgery for certain conditions, children with CHD can grow up to be healthy and functional adults. Additionally, some children with CHD may not be diagnosed until well into their adulthood. For the adults with CHD, one great resource is the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA).

This website is rich in patient resources including links to facilities specializing in adult CHD, patient handouts, webinars, and other outreach events. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Amy Verstappen, President and CEO of the ACHAand she is a wonderful speaker. This organization is definitely worth checking out.