Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program

The St. Joseph Hospital Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program provides state-of-the-art diagnostic testing and comprehensive treatment plans for congenital heart disease patients.<.p>

Our highly skilled team of physicians and nurse practitioners provide advanced clinical expertise in:

  • Cardiology
  • Cardiothoracic surgery
  • Radiology
  • Internal medicine
  • High-risk obstetrics

Our Congenital Heart Disease Program patients and their families receive the education and support they need from a caring team of professionals with expertise in social services, financial counseling, genetic counseling, psychology and nursing. In addition, our patient-centered program also offers an Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program Support Group, which provides a forum for meeting other congenital heart defect patients, and learning and talking about this life-threatening condition in a supportive, caring environment.

Thanks to revolutionary advances in medical and surgical care and to the expert team of clinicians in the St. Joseph Hospital Congenital Heart Disease Program, there are now more congenital heart defect survivors over the age of 20 than under. In fact, today, more than a half million adults who were born with a heart defect lead full, productive lives.

Tragically, undiagnosed congenital heart conditions cause many cases of sudden cardiac death in seemingly healthy young athletes. Virtually all survivors of childhood heart defects have an increased risk of developing heart problems that are very different from those that develop in adulthood. Each year, hundreds of these men and women receive expert medical care and surgical intervention as St. Joseph Hospital Congenital Heart Disease Program patients.

Most congenital heart defects are diagnosed shortly after birth, but some congenital heart defects are diagnosed during adolescence or later.

The diagnostic tests that may be used to determine if a heart defect is present or to evaluate a patient's current status include:

  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Chest x-ray
  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Intravascular echocardiography (ICE)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Position emission tomography scan (PET)
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram
  • Ultrafast CT

The St. Joseph Hospital Congenital Heart Disease Program treats 250 to 300 patients annually and performs approximately 50 heart catheterizations per year for adult congenital heart disease patients. In addition, St. Joseph Hospital performs more than 100 heart surgeries annually that are related to adults diagnosed with congenital heart defects.

Patients and families are encouraged to participate in the St. Joseph Hospital Congenital Heart Disease Program Support Group, which provides an opportunity for members to learn and talk about their condition. The support group meets on the last Wednesday of each month from 6 to 7 p.m. for more information, call 714-744-8791.

In addition information, patients and their families are encouraged to visit the following websites: