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Corrigan Minehan Heart Center
Adult Congenital Heart Disease
Explore this Treatment Program
Care During COVID-19
Our dedicated physicians, nurses and staff are committed to providing the best possible care. We have taken unprecedented steps to ensure office visits, procedures and surgeries are welcoming and safe. Your health and safety is our top priority.
Conditions We Treat
Clinicians at the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program provide personalized, lifelong care for adolescent and adult patients with the entire spectrum of congenital heart disease, including, but not limited to:
- Aortic valve stenosis
- Atrial septal defect
- Bicuspid aortic valve
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Complex congenital heart disease
- Congenital coronary anomalies
- Ebstein’s Anomaly
- Eisenmenger Syndrome
- Fontan circulation
- Marfan Syndrome
- Patent ductus arteriosus
- Pulmonic stenosis
- Tetralogy of Fallot
- Transposition of the great arteries
- Ventricular septal defect
We work with patients who are:
- Women of childbearing age with an interest in family planning
- Individuals with CHD interested in athletic involvement, either professional or individual
- Adolescents and young adults seeking to transition to comprehensive multidisciplinary adult care
- International patients with ACHD seeking multidisciplinary care
- ACHD patients requiring multi-organ system care (hepatic, renal, pulmonary disease, adult co-management)
- ACHD patients requiring/considering heart, heart-lung, or heart-liver transplant evaluation
- Patients living at a distance or interested in establishing tele-visits in addition to in-person visits to reduce travel burden
A Multidisciplinary Approach to Treating Congenital Heart Disease
Patients and their families are guided through every aspect of management, from the initial encounter and review of prior history, through diagnostic and interventional procedures, while emphasizing continuity of care and long-term follow up. Our physicians are focused exclusively on treating congenital heart disease in adults and work with specialists from multiple clinical disciplines to provide care from many different perspectives, including:
- Cardiac genetics
- Cardiac imaging
- Cardiac and thoracic surgery
- Heart failure and transplantation
- Interventional cardiology
- Obstetrics and gynecology
- Pulmonary care
Our specialists care for adolescents and adults with congenital heart disease and value open and ongoing communication with referring pediatricians, internists and primary cardiologists. We also emphasize patient education and self-advocacy to help patients transition from pediatric, through adolescent to adult care.
We offer multidisciplinary visits with same day testing in Boston, state-of-the-art interventions, health and wellness clinics in Waltham, and telemedicine and digital health services throughout the Northeast and internationally. The program has an active interest in transitioning adolescents and young adults to adult cardiac care and in cardiovascular disease and pregnancy.
Diagnosing Congenital Heart Disease
To diagnose congenital heart disease, it is important to have a clear image of a patient’s anatomy. The Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program includes full-time, board-certified cardiac imaging specialists who are specially trained to detect heart defects and whose practice focuses specifically on congenital heart disease.
Depending on the patient, we may use one or more of these diagnostic techniques to examine the heart’s anatomy and function:
- Cardiac MRI
- Cardiac CT
- Echocardiography, including transesophageal, transthoracic and 3D
- CT guidance during electrophysiologic procedures
- Diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterization
Treating Congenital Heart Disease
Both outpatient and inpatient care are closely supervised by the same dedicated physicians in the personalized manner that has been the tradition and style of excellence that characterizes Mass General.
Helping Patients Live Full, Healthy Lives
Our goal is to repair and manage congenital heart conditions so that patients live full, healthy lives. Our specialists take a holistic approach to care and are available to:
- Answer your questions: Patients with congenital heart disease often have questions relating to work, education, sports participation, marriage, pregnancy, childrearing, and whether their condition affects lifestyle decisions
- Guide patients through lifestyle changes: Preventive care is central to the treatment process. We often guide patients through dietary changes and weight management, and may refer them to cardiac rehabilitation specialists to help manage their condition
- Support young patients: Teens and young adults with congenital heart disease receive ongoing support that helps them shift from pediatric to adult-based health care. Adolescents and young adults also receive peer support from patients who have similar conditions.
Minimally Invasive Treatments
For some patients, we use an interventional transcatheter approach to offer minimally invasive procedures that result in small incisions in the skin, rather than open heart surgery. Our interventional cardiologists treat congenital heart conditions, including but not limited to septal defects, coarctation of aorta, pulmonary branch stenoses and perform pulmonic vein replacement.
Our dedicated surgical team specializes in adult congenital heart surgical procedures, including primary operations and reoperations. We are experienced in both simple and complex congenital heart surgeries, including:
- Fontan operation and revision
- Surgical closure of atrial septal defect
- Surgical repair of coartation of the aorta
- Surgical repair of Ebstein’s anomaly
- Pulmonary valve replacement
- Surgical repair of coronary artery anomalies
- Tetralogy of Fallot repair or reoperation
- Valve sparing aortic root surgery
- Conduit revision
- Congenital valve repair or replacement (tricuspid, mitral, aortic)
We strive to see patients in a timely fashion. Our dedicated support personnel are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm to take relevant information about your condition and symptoms and make a timely appointment with the most appropriate specialist.
To request an appointment, call 866-644-8910 or complete our online appointment form
Educational Offerings for Medical Professionals
- Annual ACHD CME course for the General Adult or Pediatric Cardiology Practitioner
- ACHD Visiting professorships
- ACHD Fellows lecture series at academic institutions to fulfill COCATS requirements
- ACHD rotation opportunities at MGH for interested fellows
- Local ACHD clinics at our educational partner institutions for longitudinal care/fellow education
Meet Our Team
- Clinical Director, Cardiac Arrhythmia Service
- Director, MGH Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program
- Cardiac Surgery
- Department of Surgery
- Service Chief, Cardiovascular Imaging, Department of Radiology
- Department of Medicine
- Director Structural Heart Disease Program
- Department of Medicine
- Department of Pediatrics
- Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
- Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratory
- Director, Atrial Fibrillation Program
- Director, Knight Catheterization Laboratory
- Department of Medicine
- Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
- Founding Director, Resynchronization and Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics Program
- Chief, Division of Cardiac Surgery
- Director, Corrigan Minehan Heart Center
- Co-director, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program
- Professor of Surgery
- Associate Director, MGH Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program
- Co-Director, MGH Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Program
- Program Director, Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship
Mass General is dedicated to ensuring that people understand their health care choices and have the necessary information to make decisions affecting their health and wellbeing. The related support and wellness information listed below can play a role in treatment options.
What to expect before, during and after your surgery at the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center.
Support and guidance during a family member's open-heart surgery or transplantation.
Jack's Story: Adult Congenital Heart Disease
At age 16, Jack Cadigan was a healthy, athletic high school student. He volunteered at a medical clinic in Haiti where they discovered he had an issue with his heart. He came to Mass General where Dr. Ami Bhatt diagnosed him with an atrial septal defect, which was repaired through surgery.
Preparing for College
When ACHD patients leave for college, there can be gaps in care. To ensure that you can maintain your health, it is important to make an appointment to see your cardiologist at least six months before you leave for college to be sure all necessary tests have been performed (electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, etc.). Before you leave for college, you should follow these steps:
- Know your health history including past surgeries and/or catheterization procedures that you had, even as a baby
- Keep an up-to-date list of your allergies and medications including any infective endocarditis prophylaxis, anticoagulation and contraceptives
- Build a health portfolio. While you are with your cardiologist, ask for copies of your electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and other imaging tests to take with you to college. These are two example health passports:
- Set up your Medical ID in the Health app on your phone. Here are resources to help:
- Identify the nearest adult congenital cardiologist to your college. This can be discussed with your cardiologist or by looking at the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic Directory
- If necessary, consider how campus residential and campus disability services can help you. For example, if your dorm does not have an elevator, residential services can help get you a room on a lower level. Do you need more time on exams? The campus disability services office can assist with this as well
When you arrive to college, remember these key things:
- Maintain insurance coverage and carry your health insurance card along with your ID with you at all times
- Make an appointment with student health services and provide a copy of your medical records
- Have a plan to refill your medications at a pharmacy convenient to campus
- Remember that excess alcohol, caffeine and use of recreational drugs and some nutritional supplements can trigger complications of your condition
- Prepare for emergencies. If you do have a medical emergency or hospitalization, be sure to ask that your medical records are sent to your primary care doctor and ACHD doctor
For additional information:
For Providers of Pediatric ACHD Patients
At the Mass General Adult Congenital Heart Disease program, we encourage patients to become active participants in their care. If you are a pediatric provider wishing to refer your patient to our clinic in the future, a member of our team would be happy to meet with you and your patient virtually. Introducing your patient to specialists at the Mass General ACHD clinic while he or she remains in your care will increase their comfort and confidence in communicating with health care providers, which will help to prepare them for their transition to the adult system.
If you are an adult provider caring for patients with CHD between the ages of 18-30, many of these considerations will be relevant for referral to an ACHD specialist. As a result of their past medical and surgical history, patients with CHD may experience complications such as dysrhythmias, hypertension, heart failure, stroke, liver or renal disease, endocarditis or pulmonary hypertension. Our specialists can provide lifelong surveillance for patients with complex medical conditions, offer resources for associated anxiety/depression, or assist patients with disabilities to navigate a complex medical system. Our providers also provide support for women with CHD who are pregnant or planning to start a family in the near future.
Key considerations when preparing patients for college:
- Work with students to obtain copies of medical records
- Encourage patients to keep medical records organized. Provide resources such as a “My Personal Health Passport”
- Empower patients to set up their Medical ID in the Health application on their phone
- Identify new or worsening symptoms as they require prompt attention and refer to specialized services. Identify local ACHD clinics when possible
- Weigh health risks of prescriptions for contraceptives, antidepressants and even some antibiotics in the context of potential associated risk for thrombi and arrhythmias
- Discuss alcohol consumption and avoidance of recreational drugs as it may trigger arrhythmias and can impact ventricular function
- Facilitate access to chronic medications and device monitoring as it is important that both remain uninterrupted through the college years
- Consider coordination with university health services and campus disability services
College Transition Team Members
Dr. Doreen DeFaria Yeh completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and Cardiovascular Disease and Echocardiography fellowships at the University of California at San Francisco, with advanced training in adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) and cardio-obstetrics. She currently serves as the director of the Mass General Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Training Program, associate director of the Mass General ACHD Program and co-director of the Mass General Cardiovascular Disease and Pregnancy Program. She is board certified in internal medicine, adult cardiovascular disease, ACHD and echocardiography with certification from the National Board of Echocardiography for Adult Comprehensive Echocardiography.
Dr. DeFaria has been recognized for her commitment to excellence in patient care and education. She was selected as one of the American College of Cardiology 2012 Emerging Faculty and received the Brian McGovern Memorial Award from the Department of Medicine in 2012 and 2016 for Excellence in Clinical Teaching in cardiology. She also received the Mass General Department of Medicine Fellowship as part of the Eleanor and Miles Shore Scholars in Medicine from Harvard Medical School. In 2013 she was awarded the Clinician Teacher Development Award, a 4-year grant supported by the Massachusetts General Hospital Physicians Organization and Center for Diversity and Inclusion, project titled: Redefining ACHD Education. With this support she was able to serve as the primary editor of the clinical handbook Adult Congenital Heart Disease in Clinical Practice, published in 2018. Most recently she has received the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Excellence in Clinical Education Award. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and currently is the chair of the American Heart Association Laennec Post Graduate Education Committee.
Her clinical focus is ACHD, pregnancy and cardiovascular disease, particularly high-risk cardiac conditions in pregnancy. Dr. DeFaria speaks regionally and nationally on these topics.
Dr. Chris Learn is board certified in internal medicine, general pediatrics, cardiovascular medicine, pediatric cardiology, adult congenital heart disease and adult echocardiography. His interests include adult congenital heart disease, heart disease in pregnancy and echocardiography. He is also active in advocacy for congenital heart disease. He is a member of the Adult Congenital Heart Association and the Alliance for Adult Research in Congenital Cardiology.
Nicole Jones, RN, BSN, CCRN
Nicole Jones is a resource nurse on the Cardiac Arrythmia Step Down Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Boston with a bachelor of science in nursing. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with plans to graduate in 2021. She has completed clinical training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She maintains certifications in critical care, basic life support and advanced cardiac life support. Nicole values the importance of professional collaboration which inspired her to join the Cardiac Practice Committee at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2019. She is also member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. Continuing education has enabled her to promote leadership among interdisciplinary teams and provide necessary evidence to influence future practice. As a prospective nurse practitioner, her ultimate goal is to enhance primary care of individuals within traditional, vulnerable and culturally diverse families by integrating research findings and professional standards into practice.
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