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Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Dr. Andrew Leventhal greets a patient.
Dr. Andrew Leventhal greets a patient.

Congenital heart disease is a heart defect — a problem with the heart’s structure or function — that is present at birth. Defects can affect the heart valves or walls, or the blood vessels close to the heart, and they can hamper blood flow through the muscle. Categorized as cyanotic congenital heart disease, which are defects that restrict the amount of oxygen in the blood, and non-cyanotic congenital heart disease, congenital heart defects may be diagnosed during pregnancy, soon after birth or later in life.

If you’ve received a congenital heart disease diagnosis, whether you experienced symptoms or received treatment as a child, teenager or adult, it’s important to follow up throughout your life with a cardiologist who specializes in adult congenital heart disease care. Congenital heart disease life expectancy has improved, and ongoing care is key to living longer. A cardiologist can determine whether you need additional congenital heart disease treatment, such as surgery or medication. He or she can also help you optimize your health with diet and exercise, and monitor you for infective endocarditis, arrhythmia and other health problems that can affect people with congenital heart defects.

The Kentucky Adult Congenital Heart (KACH) Program at the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute features a multidisciplinary team that includes a board-certified congenital heart disease specialist, specially trained cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, anesthesiologists, imagers, echocardiographers and electrophysiologists. Our cardiologists and other specialists collaborate with pediatric cardiologists to ensure seamless transitions to adult congenital heart disease care. That’s important, because your cardiologist will need a complete understanding of your condition and the treatments you’ve received to provide the most effective care moving forward.

The KACH Program team offers advanced procedures in heart valve repair, structural heart conditions and interventional cardiology. Many of these procedures are minimally invasive, so patients experience less postoperative pain and recover faster compared with open-heart surgery. We stay on the leading edge of adult congenital heart disease treatment by providing access to innovative therapies through clinical trials. We also make care convenient by partnering with facilities throughout Kentucky and in neighboring states to offer clinics and telemedicine consultations.

Meet the Director of our Adult Congenital Heart Program

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  • We Are Proof: Real Patient Stories

    Priscilla

    “I’m going to make it again.”

    Priscilla Riley had had a problem with her aortic valve since she was a small child growing up in Eastern Kentucky. In 1993 she had a successful heart surgery, but gradually her problems returned, and she began to suffer from congestive heart failure. By April 2017, she was so ill it looked like she might not make it. That’s when she came to UK and met Dr. Andrew Leventhal, an interventional cardiologist at the Adult Congenital Heart Clinic.

    Read Priscilla’s story »

  • Why Choose UK HealthCare for Adult Congenital Heart Disease?

    Dr. Leventhal

    Our dedication to caring for patients’ hearts with skill and compassion has earned us numerous awards and accreditations for excellence in cardiovascular care. U.S. News & World Report rated UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital as the top hospital in Kentucky for cardiology and heart surgery.

    We’ve also been recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for quality in cardiac arrest resuscitation, The Joint Commission for quality and safety in our ventricular assist device program and the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation for the excellence of our cardiopulmonary rehab program, among many other accomplishments.