Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect in the United States, occurring in one of every 110 births. Due to medical breakthroughs and progress in treatment, patients with CHD are reaching adulthood and living longer. Currently, there are more than one million adults in the United States living with this disease, and this number continues to rise by approximately 5 percent each year. At least 10 percent of all congenital heart defects are first detected in adulthood. Furthermore, patient with CHD treated in childhood, often have long-term sequelae that require regular monitoring especially throughout adulthood.
Adolescents and adults with CHD face unique challenges; some of the most common problems among adults include valvular dysfunction, ventricular dysfunction, and arrhythmias. In addition, research has shown that the risk of sudden cardiac death for patients surviving operation is 25 to 100 times greater in an adult with CHD compared with a typical adult. 1 Therefore, an aggressive approach to evaluation and treatment is necessary. This requires a coordinated team approach that includes an initial evaluation, explanation of therapeutic options, innovative transcatheter and surgical therapies and consultative follow-up.
The 2018 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines recommend that all patients with adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) have a primary physician and that they be evaluated by a specialist cardiologist with advanced training and expertise in ACHD. Frequency of follow-up is based on the patient's condition. In addition, patients who require interventional and/or surgical cardiovascular procedures are best served at centers with a specialized multidisciplinary adult congenital heart center. 2
Cleveland Clinic's Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center, directed by Joanna Ghobrial, MD, MS and Tara Karamlou, MD, uses a multidisciplinary team approach to deal with issues specific to adolescent and adult patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). The team includes surgeons and cardiologists who specialize in both pediatric and adult CHD, anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, internists, geneticists, dentists, obstetricians and gynecologists, psychiatrists, radiologists, cardiac rehabilitation, and physical and occupational therapists. Cleveland Clinic's Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center combines cutting-edge technology with compassion and a family-centered approach to congenital heart care.
Cleveland Clinic's Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center has been accredited by the Adult Congenital Heart Association.
What We Treat
The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center brings together clinicians that specialize in adult congenital heart disease. The team includes physicians, and nurses from Cardiovascular Medicine, Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Diagnostic Radiology, Pulmonary, Hepatology, Obstetrics, Genetics, Psychiatry, Critical Care Medicine, and the Transplantation Center. These individuals possess expertise in either genetic and diagnostic testing, medical management or surgical and interventional procedures for patients with all types of congenital heart conditions. Some are listed below:
- Anomalous Coronary Arteries
- Anomalous Pulmonary Veins
- Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
- Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease
- Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA)
- Ebstein's Anomaly
- Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)
- Pulmonary Artery Stenosis
- Pulmonic Valve Stenosis (PS) and Pulmonary Valve Regurgitation (PR)
- Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
- Tricuspid Atresia
- Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
- Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- Pulmonary Hypertension
Specialized Clinics and Centers are designed to meet the needs of specific patients with adult congenital heart disease:
Why choose Cleveland Clinic for your care?
Our outcomes speak for themselves. Please review our facts and figures and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.
Click here for more information on Pediatric Heart Surgery.
Cleveland Clinic's Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center is directed by Joanna Ghobrial, MD, MSc and Tara Karamlou, MD, and uses a multidisciplinary team approach to deal with issues specific to adolescent and adult patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). The team includes surgeons and cardiologists who specialize in both pediatric and adult CHD, anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, internists, geneticists, dentists, obstetricians and gynecologists, psychiatrists, radiologists, cardiac rehabilitation, and physical and occupational therapists. Cleveland Clinic's Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center combines cutting-edge technology with compassion and a family-centered approach to congenital heart care.
Our cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are world-renowned leaders in the treatment of CHD. Each year, they see about 1,300 patients and perform more than 350 surgeries with outcomes among the best in the nation.
Our team of pediatric and adult cardiologists, electrophysiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and intensive-care experts specialize in:
- A full range of imaging techniques and diagnostic studies designed to diagnose congenital heart defects
- Interventional catheter based procedures to treat defects of the heart and electrophysiology abnormalities
- Surgical procedures including congenital heart surgery and cardiac transplantation to treat complex congenital conditions
- Tara Karamlou, MD- Surgical Director, Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center
- Hani Najm, MD– Chair, Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery
- Eric Roselli, MD (Aortic Surgery) – Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery, Director of the Aorta Center
- Edward Soltesz, MD, MPH - Adult Congenital Heart Surgery
- Lars Svensson, MD, PhD (Aortic Surgery) – Chairman, Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute
- Michael Tong, MD - Adult Congenital Heart Surgery
- Shinya Unai, MD - Adult Congenital Heart Surgery
- Patrick Vargo, MD (Aortic Surgery)
Cardiothoracic Anesthesia including:
- Nelson Burbano-Vera, MD- Cardiothoracic Anesthesia
- Nick Skubas, MD – Cardiothoracic Anesthesia
- Andrew Bauer, MD – Cardiothoracic Anesthesia
- Anand Mehta, MD – Cardiothoracic Anesthesia
- Shiva Sale, MD – Cardiothoracic Anesthesia
- Andrej Alfirevic, MD – Cardiothoracic Anesthesia
- Joanna Ghobrial, MD, MSc– Cardiovascular Medicine; Medical and Interventional Director of Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center
- Margaret Fuchs, MD – Cardiovascular Medicine
- Peter Aziz, MD– Pediatric Cardiology
- Kenneth Zahka, MD– Pediatric Cardiology
- Joanna Ghobrial, MD, MSc– Cardiovascular Medicine; Medical and Interventional Director of Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center
- Samir Kapadia, MD– Adult Interventional Cardiology
- Amar Krishnaswamy, MD– Adult Interventional Cardiology
- Peter Aziz, MD– Pediatric Cardiology, Section of Electrophysiology and Pacing
- Mina Chung, MD– Cardiovascular Medicine, Section of Electrophysiology and Pacing
- Mohamed Kanj, MD– Cardiovascular Medicine, Section of Electrophysiology and Pacing
- Narij Varma, MD, PhD– Cardiovascular Medicine, Section of Electrophysiology and Pacing
- Bruce Wilkoff, MD– Cardiovascular Medicine, Section of Electrophysiology and Pacing
Advanced Imaging Team (CT, MRI, and PET)
- Paul Schoenhagen, MD– Cardiovascular Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology
- Malek El Yaman, MD– Pediatric Cardiology
- Rukmini Komarlu, MD– Pediatric Cardiology
- Neal Chaisson, MD– Pulmonary Medicine
- Raed Dweik, MD– Pulmonary Medicine
- Miriam Jacob, MD– Cardiovascular Medicine
- Joseph Parambil, MD– Pulmonary Medicine
- Gerard Boyle, MD– Pediatric Cardiology, Transplantation Center
- Marie Budev, DO– Pulmonary Medicine, Transplantation Center
- Sean Bhattacharya, MD - Cardiovascular Medicine, Transplantation Center
- Eileen Hsich, MD - Cardiovascular Medicine, Transplantation Center
- Randy Starling, MD, MPH– Cardiovascular Medicine, Transplantation Center
- Nicholas Smedira, MD– Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Transplantation Center
- Edward Soltesz, MD- Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
- Michael Tong, MD- Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
- Shinya Unai, MD- Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
- Aaron Weiss, MD - Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
- Diane Clements, LGC
- Brittany Psensky, MS, LGC
- Christina Rigelsky, MS, LGC
Adult Congenital-Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic for patients with adult congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension
Cardio-Obstetrics Clinic: Designed to care for mothers with CHD or other cardiac disease before, during and after their pregnancy
- Saundra Keane, RN – Cardio-OB RN and Care Coordinator
- Joanna Ghobrial, MD, MSc – ACHD
- Margaret Fuchs, MD – ACHD
- Steve Bacak, DO – Ob-Gyn
- Katherine Singh, MD – Ob-Gyn
- Jeff Chapa, MD– Ob-Gyn
To make an appointment, please call toll-free 800.659.7822 Cardiology Appointments or Request an Appointment online.
When you make your appointment, ask the administrative assistant for the name of your physician and desk number. You will be told to go to Desk J2 - 4 or Desk M41, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH.
Use our secure online form to submit an appointment request 24/7. We will receive it and follow-up with you as soon as possible.
Mon. - Fri., 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (ET):
call toll-free 800.659.7822
At all other times call Patient Access Services locally 216.444.8302 or toll-free 800.553.5056.
What to Expect
Whether you are coming from around the corner or around the world, you want to know what to expect before, during and after your visit with us. If you have any questions while reviewing this information, please contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Before your appointment
If you are scheduled at least one week away, you will be asked to send in your records, including medical history, test results and films (such as echocardiogram, ultrasound, chest x-ray, MRI or CT as applicable). All information should be sent in the same package (clearly marked with your name and address) via Airborne Express, Federal Express, or certified U.S. mail (make sure you have a tracking number) to the physician you have scheduled the appointment with. The address to mail your records is:
Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center
9500 Euclid Avenue – Desk J2 - 4
Cleveland, Ohio 44195
If you are scheduled less than one week out, please bring your records to your appointment.
Traveling to Cleveland Clinic
When you make your appointment, we would like to make traveling to Cleveland Clinic as easy as possible. Information on travel to the Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute.
During your appointment
A nurse or nurse practitioner will contact you prior to your arrival at Cleveland Clinic to make sure your visit is fully coordinated.
After you check in at J2 - 4, you will first be seen by a specialty trained fellow, medical resident, medical student, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant, who will review your information and begin the documentation process.
Additional testing may be required to look at your cardiac anatomy and function of your heart and other organs.
You will then meet with your ACHD physician who will review your records and take a medical history, perform a physical exam, and advise on consultations with other specialists within the Center as needed. If you need to meet with one of the multidisciplinary specialists, you will see the specialist within 1 to 2 days. Your ACHD physician will provide you with a diagnosis and plan of care.
Specialists from the Center for Personalized Genetic Health are also available to evaluate family members who are at risk for genetic or hereditary conditions.
How long will you need to stay at Cleveland Clinic?
To complete all testing, you will need to stay in the Cleveland area for 1 to 3 days.
After your visit
Most follow-up visits will be done in 6 months to 1 year or as needed. There is an opportunity for telephone follow-up as well.
Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute physicians, surgeons, and researchers continue to research into new treatments and therapies with the goal of improving patient care and outcomes into the future.
Current Research Studies include:
- Anomalous Coronary Study
- Congenital TAVR Study
- Transcatheter Pulmonary and Tricuspid Valve replacement
- Fontan Registry
- Pulmonary Vein Stenosis
- PFO Study
- Atrial septal defect Registry
- More information on Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute Research
Clinical trials (or research studies) help us create the medicine of tomorrow. They provide hope through offering testing of new drugs, new surgical techniques or other treatments before they are widely available.
We can help you access hundreds of clinical trials across all specialty areas. Our new searchable online trials tool makes identifying treatment opportunities easier than ever.
Congenital Heart Surgery
World class heart surgery at Cleveland Clinic is provided by the Cleveland Clinic Congenital Heart Surgery team. Children and adults born with heart disease receive state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment close to home through our northern Ohio congenital heart surgical, quality and research collaborative that includes Akron Children’s Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic Children’s and Metrohealth Medical Center.
Adult Congenital Heart Disease
World class care for adults with congenital heart disease at Cleveland Clinic is provided in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic Children's and Akron Children's Congenital Heart teams. Adults born with heart disease receive state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment through our northern Ohio congenital heart surgical, quality and research collaborative that includes Akron Children's Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic Children's and MetroHealth Medical Center.