Congenital Heart Defects

Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is any heart defect that is present at birth. Because of surgical and medical advancements, about 90 percent of children who have surgery for CHD survive to adulthood. In the United States, an estimated 1 million adults are living with CHD. Though many adults with CHD may feel well, many have a poor understanding of their condition; they are at risk for serious complications and need regular follow-up care for life. 

Our Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program provides specialized, comprehensive care and helps teach patients how to stay healthy.

There are many kinds of congenital heart defects, and they generally fall into these categories:

  • Septal defects or “holes” inside or outside the heart that cause blood to detour or take an abnormal route
  • Obstructive defects that impede blood flow within the heart or the great vessels near it
  • Cyanotic defects that occur when blood pumped from the heart has a reduced level of oxygen (cyanosis)
  • Other developmental defects, such as being born with only one ventricle

Adults with CHD may have no symptoms, or they may be at risk for complications such as rhythm problems, heart failure, residual holes, valve problems, high blood pressure and aneurysms.

Many other non-cardiac concerns can arise for adults with CHD, such as:

  • Hearing and vision problems
  • Lung problems
  • Difficulties in obtaining health and life insurance
  • Pregnancy risks
  • Birth control questions
  • Exercise restrictions
  • Learning disabilities

These problems all can have a major impact on a patient’s quality of life. Our Adult Congenital Heart Disease staff is experienced in helping patients deal with these issues. Below is a list of some of the more common congenital heart defects treated by our Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program:

  • Aortic aneurysm and dissection
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD)
  • Bicuspid aortic valve
  • Bidirectional Glenn
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Complete atrioventricular (AV) Canal
  • DiGeorge syndrome
  • Double inlet left ventricle (DILV)
  • Double outlet right ventricle
  • Down syndrome
  • Ebstein’s anomaly
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Eisenmenger's syndrome
  • Endocardial cushion defect
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
  • Interrupted aortic arch
  • Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS)
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Noonan’s syndrome
  • Partial atrioventricular (AV) Canal
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Pulmonary stenosis
  • Single ventricle fontan 
  • Subaortic stenosis
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Thoracic ascending aortic aneurysm
  • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return
  • Transposition of the great arteries (vessels)
  • Truncus arteriosus
  • Tricuspid atresia
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD)


For adult congenital heart disease services:

  • 414-805-3666
Request AppointmentView Treatment Team


Heart & Vascular Center, Froedtert Hospital 9200 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53226

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