Mount Sinai Medical Center is South Florida’s leader in the treatment of heart disease, the nation’s leading cause of death. Over the past two years, Mount Sinai has continued to develop innovative partnerships and programs that enhance the outstanding level of quality care provided by doctors at Mount Sinai. Affiliated with New York’s elite, Ivy-League Columbia University, The Mount Sinai Heart Institute is pleased to announce that it has now opened an adult congenital heart center.
Advances in surgery and medication mean that more and more children born with heart defects are surviving. As these innovations have dramatically improved the prognosis of children with congenital heart disease, surviving adults are now presented with the problem of finding a cardiologist who can treat their distinctive condition once they outgrow their pediatric cardiologist. The unique needs of this patient population now demand the expertise of a specialist who can place congenital defects and their repairs in the context of an adult patient and that’s exactly what Mount Sinai offers.
Innovative Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic
Mount Sinai’s Columbia University Division of Cardiology’s new congenital heart disease clinic provides treatment for adult patients with congenital heart disease who enter adult life with the disease and require ongoing care. The treatment utilizes a unique team approach. Patients have access to a pediatric cardiologist as well as an adult cardiologist. Dr. Madeleen Mas, the region’s leading expert in pediatric cardiology, works jointly with Dr. Juan-Carlos Brenes, co-director of Mount Sinai’s Echocardiography Laboratory and an expert in 3D echocardiography, to diagnose and treat adult patients with problems that come up from congenital heart disease.
“Traditionally, pediatric cardiologists followed their adult patients because there were very few adult cardiologists familiar with their anatomy and management,” said Brenes. “Today, adult congenital heart specialists can bridge the gap between pediatric and adult cardiology, and are often best suited to manage difficult adult-related problems such as complex arrhythmias and chronic heart failure.”
Adults and Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart disease refers to a structural problem within the heart that is present at birth. It occurs during the heart’s development soon after conception, sometimes before the mother knows that she is pregnant. Defects can be simple problems, such as “holes” between chambers of the heart, or they can be very severe — as when the heart is missing one or more chambers or valves.
Since the 1970s, children born with congenital heart disease had good results with surgery that has helped them live much longer than was possible just a few years earlier. Today, there are about 800,000 people in the United States with some form of congenital heart disease, and in the next 10 years, one out of every 150 adults will have some form of the disease.
Complications Later in Life
After children have corrective surgery, the heart changes. The treatment used to fix their problems and save their lives can sometimes cause complications in their adult life. These complications, such as pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary valve regurgitation, require treatment by a cardiologist.
This raises an important question: How do we care for patients with congenital heart disease after they are too old to see a pediatric cardiologist? We can’t expect a 25- or 30-year-old to continue seeing his or her pediatric cardiologist, but “adult” cardiologists don’t always have the background to care for adults who were treated as children with congenital heart disease. The answer is to have a team approach that includes the best of both worlds. The Mount Sinai Heart Institute provides access to a pediatric cardiologist and an adult cardiologist for our adult patients with congenital heart disease.
Quality Care for Each Patient
Patients look forward to a complete and thorough approach to their diagnosis and treatment. The doctors share information and determine the best treatment options, such as medication, surgery or cardiac catheterization, depending on the severity of each patient’s illness.
Providing care for adult patients with CHD is a new specialty that requires a great deal of training and experience. Doctors at the Mount Sinai Heart Institute are some of the most skilled in the field of cardiology. The development of the adult congenital heart clinic is just another way that Mount Sinai continues to make sure that your heart, is in the best hands.
To learn more about Mount Sinai’s new adult congenital heart disease clinic, please call 305-674-CARE (2273).