Congenital Heart Disease Overview
Welcome to UAB’s Congenital Heart Disease program. If you have a personal or strong family history of congenital heart disease, sometimes known as structural heart disease, and are thinking about having a baby, or if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, the medical experts at UAB Medicine are ready to help.
Congenital heart disease occurs when problems with the structure or function of the heart are present from birth. There are many different kinds of defects of the heart, all of which vary in severity. Some can heal over time, while others may require surgery or lifelong monitoring and care.
The physicians in the congenital heart disease program, led by Dr. Ed Colvin, work as part of a multidisciplinary team, including cardiothoracic and heart transplant surgeons, to deliver Alabama’s only comprehensive congenital heart disease program.
The congenital heart disease program is located in the UAB Women and Infants Center at the Alabama Congenital Heart Disease Center. The program provides prenatal diagnosis and management of congenital heart disease, postnatal management of infants and children with congenital heart disease, and for adult patients with complex congenital heart disease, life long care.
Adult Congenital Heart Disease Treatment
Advances in the treatment of congenital and structural heart disease have seen the life expectancy for children with congenital heart disease increase substantially. While this is a positive development, adults with congenital heart disease face higher risks of developing new heart problems as they get older. These problems can include arrhythmias, endocarditis and heart failure.
UAB has a multidisciplinary team of pediatric and adult cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, cardiovascular anesthesiologists and maternal/fetal medicine specialists to treat patients from before birth into adulthood.
With UAB’s modern ultrasound equipment many heart defects can be diagnosed before a child is born.
Screening exams performed at 18-20 weeks are recommended for expectant mothers (or fathers) known to have congenital heart disease. Couples with a strong family history for congenital heart disease who are pregnant, or are planning to get pregnant, may be at risk for passing heart disease along to their children and therefore may also benefit from prenatal screening.
If a defect is discovered, either through routine obstetric care or specialized screening, prenatal treatment and planning for delivery and postnatal treatment can be undertaken.
Our nurses can answer questions for expectant mothers with a history of heart disease, parents of children with heart disease, or adults with congenital heart disease.
If you would like to speak with a member of the UAB Congenital Heart Disease Program, please call 205.934.3460.