Texas Children’s Hospital opens its first-of-its-kind dedicated floor for adults with congenital heart disease. Medical Director, Dr. Peter Ermis, and Surgical Director, Dr. Ed Hickey with Texas Children’s Adult Congenital Heart Program share more with Rosie. Take a look!

A pregnant woman in her 40s awaiting the birth of her first child, a man in his 50s who didn’t think he’d live to see his son graduate high school, and a man in his 70s who is finally able to take a deep breath and experience normal heart rhythm. All of these adults are patients at Texas Children’s Hospital. 

Since 2004, the Adult Congenital Heart Program at Texas Children’s has provided groundbreaking care, and on November 4, the hospital opened a first-of-its-kind dedicated floor designed by and for adults with congenital heart disease. The 27,000-square-foot space, situated on the 24th floor of Texas Children’s Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower, include a 16-bed inpatient unit, outpatient clinic, cardiac rehab gym, diagnostics lab, and more. This innovative approach to care is unprecedented, and another step forward for the no. 1 ranked hospital for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report. 

Today, there are more adults than children living with congenital heart disease in the United States. Significant advancements in cardiac care and improvements in survival after undergoing heart surgery as a baby or young child have resulted in this growing population. While it may seem counterintuitive for adults to be cared for at a children’s hospital, data suggests that if you are an adult living with congenital heart disease and are in need of surgery or cardiology follow up, the outcomes are likely to be better if you are operated on by a congenital heart surgeon and cared for by a cardiologist at a children’s hospital. These experts simply know this patient population’s heart better and can provide continuity of care from birth through adulthood.

Why should adults with congenital heart disease be treated at a children’s hospital? 

About 1.6 million adults currently live with congenital heart disease in the United States, but they still are a rare patient within an adult hospital environment. 

Adults with congenital heart disease do not fit well within the current health care system because they are survivors of a chronic childhood disease. Congenital heart expertise still resides mostly within the pediatric cardiology and congenital heart arena as adult cardiologists almost entirely take care of adults with the acquired disease – not one that was present at birth.

Why Texas Children’s Hospital?

Here at Texas Children’s, our Heart Center is ranked #1 in the nation for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report because the expertise, experience, and resources available to our large team are second-to-none. This translates into superb outcomes for our patients.

What we are really doing at Texas Children’s is eradicating any arbitrary age cutoff for treating congenital heart disease. This is necessary and long overdue. For patients with congenital heart disease, Texas Children’s is your home for life!    

Why is this state-of-the-art facility a game-changer for the field of adult congenital heart disease?

Adults with congenital heart disease have historically had a very raw deal. Compared to their pediatric counterparts, who enjoy vast resources and focus, adults typically have very limited access to congenital heart disease care.

Globally, adults with congenital heart disease have generally been managed piecemeal, either within pediatric environments or in adult environments with teams unfamiliar with congenital heart disease.

Our new space provides ACH patients with exactly what they have always needed – congenital heart disease expertise concentrated within an adult environment that is experienced, trained, and designed specifically for their needs. It is timely, visionary, and necessary!

Learn more about Texas Children’s Hospital by visiting their website for more details.

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