We perform a wide range of procedures because our congenital heart disease team understands that treatment is not "one-fits-all" care. Your best option will depend on the severity of your congenital heart disease. We will work with you to determine what strategy or strategies will be ideal for your condition and your personal needs.
Innovative Devices to Treat Heart Defects
At the University of Chicago Medicine, our congenital heart disease specialists are pioneers in the use of innovative devices to close holes in the heart without the need for surgery. These small devices are placed using catheters that are inserted into the artery or vein in the groin. Many patients with atrial septal defect, patent ductus arteriosus, patent foramen ovale or ventricular septal defect have been successfully treated with these devices. These special nonsurgical procedures offer many advantages, including:
- Short procedure time. Patients can sometimes leave the hospital the same day.
- No visible scarring.
- Little to no pain.
- Little to no blood loss.
- Quick recovery, with patients frequently able to resume normal activities the next day.
Congenital Heart Treatment Options
Some congenital heart problems can cause heart rhythm disorders. Our team of adult and pediatric electrophysiologists offer the full range of diagnostic and treatment options for arrhythmias, including radiofrequency ablation and implantation of pacemakers and defibrillators.
Patients with narrowed arteries or blood vessels can often benefit from balloon angioplasty or stent placement to improve blood flow. Balloon angioplasty involves the use of thin tubes (catheters) that are inserted into a blocked or narrowed artery. The catheter has a tiny balloon on its tip that is inflated to widen the artery. Stents are tiny steel mesh tubes that are sometimes placed in blood vessels to help keep them open.
Thin tubes (catheters) can often be used to relieve obstructions caused by thickened heart valves, commonly seen in patients with aortic or pulmonary valve stenosis. A small balloon is attached to the tip of the catheter and is then inflated to open the valve opening.
UChicago Medicine offers the most advanced surgical options for congenital heart disease and other heart problems. Highlights of our program include:
- Valve repair and reconstruction using human or artificial valves. Repairs can sometimes be performed using the patient's own tissue.
- The Ross procedure for aortic valve abnormalities
- Surgical closure of atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects
- Minimally invasive techniques, which can greatly reduce post-operative pain, scarring and recovery compared to open-heart procedures
- Repair of Tetralogy of Fallot
- Focused treatment strategies for conditions that affect the aorta, including Marfan syndrome
- The Fontan procedure for people with only one pumping chamber in the heart
- Bypass surgery, including minimally invasive procedures that can be performed through very small incisions without cutting through the sternum.
- Surgical care for heart failure
- Use of innovative mechanical cardiac assist devices, which improve the pumping ability of the heart
- Heart transplantation, including re-transplantation and multiple organ transplantation