Fast-track Evaluation for Adults with Congenital Heart Disease
One-of-a-kind program provides single-day evaluation and consultation with senior ACH specialists.
Adults who had childhood surgery for Tetralogy of Fallot or pulmonary stenosis should continue to be evaluated to ensure that their hearts are functioning well and to determine whether any further treatment may be needed. But many do not have regular follow-up with congenital heart specialists, either because they are unaware of the need, or because of difficulties associated with travel and multiple days of testing.
In order to make it possible for patients to obtain evaluation in an expedited fashion, and to provide the experienced decision-making necessary for optimal care, the Schneeweiss Adult Congenital Heart Center at Columbia has established an innovative, first of its kind evaluation program. This fast-track program provides thorough, sophisticated testing and expert consultation in a single visit.
Why the need for this program?
Thirty years ago, surgery provided new lifesaving options that allowed many children to live relatively normal lives and progress to adulthood.
But it turns out that many of these young adults, once considered fully cured, have developed previously unforeseen problems as a result of those early repairs, according to Marlon S. Rosenbaum, MD, Director of the Schneeweiss Adult Congenital Heart Center.
Such consequences include progressive enlargement of the right ventricle, which can lead to irreversible failure of the right ventricle, an additional leak in the tricuspid valve, arrhythmias, heart failure, and fluid retention. In order to prevent these problems or the need for heart transplantation, Dr. Rosenbaum says, "It is extremely important to know if your right ventricle is excessively large and not pumping well, or if other potentially dangerous problems are brewing."
The new program includes congenital echocardiography, cardiac MRI, cardio-pulmonary stress test, and sometimes a cardiac catheterization, followed by consultation with one of the center’s senior specialists in adult congenital heart disease, in a single visit.