The University of Chicago Medicine knows that treating congenital heart disease in adults is not “one-size-fits-all.” Creating the best treatment plan for you will depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of your congenital heart defect(s) and any preexisting heart conditions you have. Because we will work with you to personalize your care, you can feel confident that your health is our first priority.
Nonsurgical Treatment Options
Active Surveillance/Ongoing Follow-ups
We understand that treating congenital heart disease requires a life-long partnership between you and your healthcare team. For conditions that have no symptoms, ongoing check-ups are critical to identify any health concerns early so we can create a treatment plan as quickly as possible.
Medication can be used alone or in combination with other therapeutics to treat and/or maintain conditions such as stroke, heart attack, infections and arrhythmias with blood thinners, antibiotics, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and more.
Balloon Angioplasty & Stent Placement
Patients with blocked or narrowed arteries can often benefit from balloon angioplasty and stent placement to improve blood flow. Balloon angioplasty is performed using 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. Next, a stent (a tiny steel mesh tube) is placed around the artery to keep it open and prevent the artery from narrowing in the future.
A minimally invasive procedure, balloon valvuloplasty inserts a catheter through the groin to the heart, accessing the malformed valve and expanding a small balloon is to widen the valve. Performing a balloon valvuloplasty on congenital heart patients with aortic or pulmonary valve stenosis can allow it to open/close normally and regulate blood flow heart to the body/lungs.
Cardiac Ablation and Devices for Arrhythmias
Ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting a specially designed catheter through the leg into the heart. The catheter is used to locate the arrhythmia source, which is then eliminated using extreme cold, laser technology or radiofrequency. Our highly skilled expert team offers comprehensive ablation management. Read more about our expert ablation services.
Some congenital heart problems can cause heart rhythm disorders. Our adult and pediatric electrophysiologists offer the full range of diagnostic and treatment options for arrhythmias, including radiofrequency ablation and implantation of pacemakers and defibrillators.
Cardiac Catheterization to Treat Heart Defects
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
- 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
Transcatheterization (Nonsurgical Procedures) for Valve Disease
Patients with damaged valves maybe require treatment to remove blockages, repair leaks or replace valves. Our interventional cardiologists perform transcatheter (percutaneous) procedures when it is too high risk for traditional surgical procedures. Catheterization offers an alternative treatment solution that uses minimally invasive techniques to repair mitral valves, replace aortic valves, to seal leaks and more. These procedures are less invasive that traditional surgery and offer a faster recovery and return to daily activities. Learn more about the transcatheter procedures we offer.
UChicago Medicine offers the most advanced surgical options for congenital heart disease and other heart problems that require surgery. Common surgical care offered for congenital heart disease patients: includes
Valve Repair and Reconstruction
Our cardiac surgeons aim to repair malfunctioning heart valves before opting for total valve replacement. Valve repair may involve sewing damaged valve flaps or strengthening the "ring" that holds the valve in place. If valve repair is not a viable option, our cardiac surgeons can replace the faulty heart valves with artificial or biological valves taken from human or animal valve tissue.
Robotic Heart Surgery
While robotic heart surgery is not the ideal solution for all congenital heart patients, our cardiac surgeons do perform minimally invasive procedure to repair heart damage. If you have developed comorbidities, such as such as coronary heart disease, arrhythmias, heart failure, because of a congenital disease, robotic heart surgery might be a viable option for you. For examples, we offer minimally invasive heart bypass surgery, which can greatly reduce post-operative pain, scarring and recovery compared to open-heart procedures. Learn more about our robotic heart expertise.
Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Treatment
If you were born with a heart defect, you are at risk of developing heart failure in adulthood. UChicago Medicine has the skill and experience to identify and treat heart failure, and our team will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan. We are experts in heart transplantation, ventricular assist devices and heart failure treatment for all patients, including those with complex congenital conditions. Read more about heart failure treatment options.
For general questions about our adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) program, please contact us at 773-702-7777.
Surgical Treatments Resources
UChicago Medicine is one of a handful of hospitals in the world that offers a wide range of robotic approaches for heart conditions.
As pioneers in heart valve procedures, UChicago Medicine heart surgeons can often offer surgical solutions that are not available at most hospitals.
Telemedicine at UChicago Medicine
For your convenience and safety, we offer secure and easy virtual visits for most non-urgent visit types. Our care providers can assess your symptoms, make a diagnosis, recommend treatment and send prescriptions to your pharmacy.
Whether you are facing a complex health issue or difficult treatment decision, getting a second opinion can help you make an informed decision about your care. Get an online second opinion from one of our experts without having to leave home.
You can also make an appointment with our providers by:
– Scheduling a virtual video visit to see a provider from the comfort of your home
– Requesting an online second opinion from our specialists
To speak to someone directly, please call 773-702-9461. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.
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