Support for Adult Congenital Heart Disease

At NYU Langone, our doctors understand that people diagnosed with congenital heart disease during childhood may have questions about appropriate care as they transition into adulthood. Some people experience a gap in cardiac monitoring during the busy time between late adolescence and early adulthood.

Specialists at our Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program are dedicated to bridging this gap by providing ongoing support, including regular follow-up visits, to adults with congenital heart defects. Our doctors offer a transition clinic to help adolescents transition their care from pediatric cardiologists to adult congenital heart disease specialists.

NYU Langone doctors can help you identify the sometimes subtle symptoms you may not notice because you have lived with the condition most of your life. They also provide support for people who are diagnosed as adults.

Our experts offer a variety of services to help you manage a congenital heart condition and improve your wellbeing.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation offers both inpatient and outpatient cardiac rehabilitation services designed to help you get back on your feet after treatment, such as surgery. These services are provided through the Joan and Joel Smilow Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation Center, the largest of its kind in the region.

While you are in the hospital, a cardiac rehabilitation physiatrist—a doctor specializing in rehabilitation medicine—coordinates a team of specialists, including occupational and physical therapists. These specialists help you gain strength and independence to perform your regular daily activities, such as walking.

Some people may require inpatient cardiac rehabilitation before leaving the hospital. Your physiatrist and your congenital heart disease team coordinate your care to ensure that your medical condition is stable and that you are able to function safely and independently before returning home.

Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation

Your doctors may recommend outpatient cardiac rehabilitation, which involves monitored exercise. Some people may transition to an outpatient rehabilitation program after being hospitalized.

When starting outpatient rehabilitation, your doctor performs a cardiopulmonary exercise stress test to establish your baseline cardiac health and to help create a safe and accurate exercise prescription. People typically attend physician-monitored aerobic exercise sessions three times a week for three months before transitioning to a self-monitored exercise program that is planned by your doctor.

Outpatient rehabilitation also includes education in a heart healthy lifestyle, nutrition counseling, tobacco cessation support, and emotional support therapy.

Exercise Evaluation

Exercise and fitness are very important for the long-term health of people with congenital heart disease. Cardiac rehabilitation physiatrists at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation can perform cardiopulmonary exercise stress testing to determine your aerobic capacity, or fitness level. This helps your doctor identify any limitations you may have and create an exercise program that meets your needs and helps you achieve your goals.

Our specialists help each person build endurance and achieve a level of physical activity that improves his or her wellbeing.

Pregnancy Counseling

Pregnancy and delivery put added stress on the heart, potentially increasing the risk of complications for both mother and baby. At NYU Langone, our cardiac experts collaborate with specialists at the NYU Langone Maternal Fetal Care Center to assess your individual risk factors for pregnancy.

Our specialists can evaluate your cardiac condition to determine if pregnancy is safe for you. Your doctor considers whether you have a congenital heart defect, an artificial valve implanted in the heart, valve stenosis or regurgitation, or cardiomyopathy or heart failure in order to evaluate your risk of pregnancy and delivery complications.

Sometimes, women are diagnosed with congenital heart disease during pregnancy. If this occurs, your NYU Langone doctors monitor your condition. They can also determine if medication is appropriate during pregnancy.

Throughout your pregnancy and delivery, your care is coordinated, as needed, among a variety of specialists, including cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons—who specialize in performing procedures on the heart, lungs, and other chest organs—maternal–fetal medicine specialists, cardiac anesthesiologists, obstetric anesthesiologists, and medical intensivists, who are doctors who work in the intensive care unit.

Cardiac Device Management

Our team of cardiac device management doctors provides ongoing monitoring of cardiac devices, such as pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators. Cardiac device management takes place at NYU Langone’s Heart Rhythm Center and the Heart Failure Advanced Care Center. Doctors can also monitor the device remotely using wireless networks.

Stress Management

Our experts offer a variety of integrative health services to help reduce stress, including massage therapy and acupuncture. Our specialists also teach stress-reduction skills during six-week individual or group sessions.

Psychological Services

Living with a congenital heart condition can sometimes lead to anxiety or depression. Your NYU Langone doctor can refer you to a psychologist or social worker for individual therapy or group sessions to help you cope. Family members and significant others are encouraged to participate, as well.

Nutrition Guidance

Registered dietitians at NYU Langone provide nutritional evaluation and can help you adopt and follow a heart-healthy diet. This can help you lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, and manage conditions such as diabetes.

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