Friday, August 8, 2014

Managing adult congenital heart disease

TEAM EFFORT: Clinicians of the MGH Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program


There are more than one million adults in the United States living with adult congenital heart disease (ACHD). As childhood surgical and medical care improves, there are more adults with jobs, families, and other responsibilities living with ACHD. The important goal for physicians now is not only to keep adults with ACHD healthy, but also to promote a healthy lifestyle and attention to nutrition, physical activity, and overall well-being.

“Here at the MGH, we have a strong network of experts who know how to manage congenital heart disease through adulthood,” says Ami Bhatt, MD, FACC, co-director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program in the MGH Institute for Heart, Vascular and Stroke Care. “But it is important for these patients to understand their disease and learn about ways they can have a healthy and happy life while taking care of themselves and their heart.”

In order to address the value of wellness in the ACHD population, doctors and nurses from ACHD program have launched the ACHD Health and Wellness Program at MGH West in Waltham. Spearheaded by Bhatt, Doreen DeFaria Yeh, MD, FACC, cardiology subspecialty education coordinator, and Lauren McLaughlin, RN, the health and wellness program provides patients with stress management techniques including in-appointment meditation and yoga, nutrition counseling and food diaries, and setting exercise and weight loss goals.

“We recognize that patients with congenital heart disease need lifelong care and with this added program, we aim to provide that care in a way that is patient centered,” says Bhatt. “Our goal is not to simply have our patients survive, it is to help them truly live life. We hope promoting wellness becomes the foundation for a new empowering approach to caring for adults with chronic childhood diseases.”

For more information about the ACHD Health and Wellness Program or to request an appointment, email

Read more articles from the 08/08/14 Hotline issue.



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