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Cleveland Clinic doctor speaking with a patient | Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Cleveland Clinic doctor speaking with a patient | Adult Congenital Heart Disease
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Maybe you were born with a heart condition and have already had treatment. Or it could be you didn’t even know something was wrong with your heart.

Either way, you’ll want the best care for your adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) so you can keep living an active, fulfilling life.

Our team of industry-leading heart specialists and surgeons are here to answer your questions, listen to your concerns and find out what’s going on. At Cleveland Clinic, we offer exceptional heart care, with a reputation for excellent outcomes and compassionate care. We’re ready to help you take the next step toward a healthier heart.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Adult Congenital Heart Disease Care?

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is nationally ranked for its heart care and recognized as the world leader in cardiovascular care.

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Demonstrated expertise:

Our specialists are experts in many different areas and are world-renowned leaders in treating congenital heart disease. We combine this expertise with the latest technology, innovations and treatments to make sure you get the best results.

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Skilled collaborative providers:

Our providers work as a team to match your specific needs — from arrhythmia disorders and valve conditions to coronary anomalies, pulmonary hypertension, and more. We connect you with the providers you need and the latest diagnostic and genetic testing. Meet our team.

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Innovation and research:

Our providers research new treatments and therapies to treat adult congenital heart disease with the best outcomes. Our clinical trials help us test the latest drugs, surgical tools and techniques before they’re widely available. Your provider can tell you if you’re able to participate in these trials.

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Virtual visits:

Our convenient virtual visits let you meet one-on-one with your providers for some follow-ups or a quick check-in. You can use an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet or computer to talk about your progress and concerns from the comfort of your home.

Diagnosing Adult Congenital Heart Disease at Cleveland Clinic

Adult congenital heart disease covers mild to serious conditions that affect how blood flows through different parts of your heart, like your:

Sometimes, you may not feel symptoms until adulthood, or for some people, during your pregnancy. Or maybe a childhood condition resurfaces. Once diagnosed, you’ll need lifelong medical care so we can keep a close eye on your heart.

What to expect at your first visit

Learning you have problems with your heart can be unsettling — especially if you haven’t had many symptoms. That’s why your provider will sit down to talk with you. They’ll listen to your concerns, answer your questions and ask a few themselves. They’ll want to know:

  • What are your symptoms, if any?
  • How long have you had these symptoms?
  • Have you had any testing before this appointment?
  • What other health conditions do you have?
  • Has anyone in your family had a heart condition?

Your provider will also do a physical exam and order tests, like:

Meet Our Adult Congenital Heart Disease Team

We use a team approach to treat adult congenital heart disease. That means you’ll have providers from many different specialties all working together to pinpoint a diagnosis and give you comprehensive, personalized care. Your team may include:


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio, Florida and London.

Treating Adult Congenital Heart Disease at Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic cardiology providers focus on what you need to treat and manage your unique heart diagnosis.

Some congenital heart conditions may not need treatment other than watchful waiting. This means you’ll have regular checkups to make sure your condition doesn’t get worse. Other times, you may need different types of treatment. The kind you have will depend on the type of condition and how bad it is.


Some types of adult congenital heart disease respond well to medications. Depending on your diagnosis, your provider may prescribe drugs like:

Catheter-based treatments

We offer catheter-based treatments for ACHDs — like atrial or ventricular septal defects, heart valve replacements (including the pulmonary valve) and ventricular or atrial arrhythmia(s) during adult congenital heart disease. Some of these treatments include:

Implantable devices

If ACHD causes problems with your heart rate or heartbeat, we may use an implantable cardiac device. You may get a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). These devices use electrical impulses to help control how your heart works.


You may need heart surgery or heart valve surgery to treat some adult congenital heart diseases, like:

We try to do minimally invasive heart surgery when possible. Minimally invasive surgery often means a faster recovery time and less scarring. Some conditions may require us to do open-heart surgery, which means you’ll have a larger incision (cut) and a longer recovery.

If you have serious adult congenital heart disease that can’t be repaired, you may need a heart transplant. Your care team will go over all options with you.

Living With Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Because you’re born with congenital heart disease, you can’t prevent it. But you can take care of yourself while you manage your condition. One way is to keep all of your cardiology appointments so we can check in on your progress.

It’s also important to lead a healthy lifestyle, like eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly and avoiding tobacco. If you need to quit smoking, we’re here to help.

Did you know your teeth play a role in heart health? Tooth and gum infections may promote bacteria that can hurt your heart (bacterial endocarditis). So, it’s important to take good care of your teeth and see your dentist regularly. You may also want to ask your cardiology providers if you need to take antibiotics before dental work.

Traveling for Heart Care at Cleveland Clinic

When you’re diagnosed with a heart condition and need to travel to Cleveland Clinic for care, the last thing you want to worry about is making those arrangements. No matter if you’re coming to us from another city, state or country, we want to make it less stressful for you. From finding your way here from the highway or airport to getting a nearby hotel room, we make traveling to Cleveland Clinic as easy and convenient as possible.

And if you’re coming from overseas, you don’t have to navigate Cleveland Clinic alone. Our experienced and compassionate Global Patient Services (GPS) team will connect you with the healthcare providers you need, help you schedule appointments, provide language translation services and even coordinate follow-up care for you back home.

Taking the Next Step

There are many things to think about when you learn you have adult congenital heart disease. You may worry that you have to make big changes to your life. Or wonder if your heart condition will get worse. We’re here to ease your fears, answer your questions and help you understand what to expect as we make a diagnosis. And once we do, we’ll work with you to plan the most personalized treatment and help you get back to a full, active life.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s adult congenital heart disease experts is easy. We help you get care.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s adult congenital heart disease experts is easy. We help you get care.

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