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Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD)

Adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) is a problem with the heart’s structure and function that occurred at birth. ACHD can describe a number of different problems affecting the heart. It is the most common type of birth defect in the United States (there are over 1 million adults living with a congenital heart defect in this country) and causes more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects.

It is often divided into two types: cyanotic (causing a bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes due to not enough oxygen in the blood) and acyanotic.


  • Ebstein’s anomaly
  • Hypoplastic left heart
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return
  • Transposition of the great vessels
  • Tricuspid atresia
  • Truncus arteriosus


  • Aortic stenosis
  • Bicuspid aortic valve
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD)
  • Atrioventricular canal (endocardial cushion defect)
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  • Pulmonic stenosis
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms depend on the condition and in many cases symptoms do not appear right away.

Defects such as coarctation of the aorta may not cause problems for years. Other problems, such as a small VSD, ASD, or PDA may never cause any problems.

In other cases, symptoms such as shortness of breath, a blue tint to the skin, lips, or fingernails, easily tiring with activity, or an abnormal heart rhythm can be signs of a congenital defect.


Using a multidisciplinary approach, Deborah physicians evaluate both the physical limitations of the disease and psychosocial issues as well as reproductive and genetic issues. Each patient undergoes a detailed diagnostic work-up, which may include the following tests:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Echocardiogram (transthoracic or transesophageal)
  • X-rays
  • Exercise stress testing
  • Heart rhythm monitoring (Holter, Event monitoring)
  • Cardiac MRI
  • CT angiography
  • Diagnostic cardiac catheterizations and angiography
  • Pulmonary angiogram
Why Deborah?
  • Deborah’s program focuses on the entire spectrum of adult congenital disease, including monitoring and follow-up care for adults who had heart surgery or other interventional cardiac procedure as a child, as well as adults who learn that they have a previously undetected heart condition that needs treatment.
  • Deborah has the sophisticated noninvasive procedures needed to treat patients with adult congenital heart disease, who may require re-operative heart surgery as they age.  Patients may have outgrown their original heart repair and previously inserted valves may have become too small. The hospital is uniquely capable in using nonsurgical therapies and minimally invasive techniques when a “redo” is needed.
  • South Jersey Biz Magazine 2020 has named Deborah’s Adult Congenital Heart Program as one of the “Best of Healthcare” in South Jersey. The recognition underscores the multi-disciplinary team that works with the region’s adult congenital heart care patients.


Terms & Conditions

By participating in this quiz, or screening or health assessment, I recognize and accept all risks associated with it. I understand that the program will only screen for certain risk factors and does not constitute a complete physical exam. For the diagnosis of a medical problem, I must see a physician for a complete medical exam. I release Deborah Heart and Lung Center and any other organization(s) involved in this screening, and their employees and agents, from all liabilities, medical claims or expenses which may arise from my participation. Thank you for investing in your health by participating today.