Adult Congenital Heart Program FAQ

Below are common questions from parents of children with congenital heart disease. You can find more answers to other questions in our downloadable congenital heart disease flyer.

When can a congenital heart disease (CHD) be diagnosed?

If your child has a serious heart defect, it may be diagnosed by a fetal heart specialist before birth or most likely in the first 24 hours after birth while you are still in the hospital. If your child’s CHD is mild or moderate, it might go undetected until the child is older, even an adult.

What are the symptoms of congenital heart disease?

Symptoms of CHD vary depending on the type, but common symptoms are abnormal heart rhythms, shortness of breath, a blue tint to the skin, lack of normal physical development, swelling in the body, and an inability or lack of interest in eating.

Where is the best place to seek care for CHD?

Ideally, it’s best to receive care from an ACHA ACHD Comprehensive Care Center, like ours at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford Since ACHD is a new specialty, this will ensure that your child is receiving care from ACHD board-certified doctors who fully understand congenital heart disease—something general cardiologists do not receive training on in medical school. You’ll also want to find a program that has excellent outcomes and good survival rates, and one that can provide comprehensive, lifelong care for your child.

Is CHD curable?

While repairing a congenital heart defect won’t restore the heart’s full function, our ACHD board-certified heart surgeons are known for providing outstanding treatment outcomes that improve the heart’s ability to function. Along with our comprehensive services, we aim to empower your child to live his or her best life. Our researcher-physicians are continually working to advance and improve treatments for CHD, offering the very latest options for your child.

How do I learn more about your ACHD program?

We invite you to contact us by phone, at (844) 807-0050 (Stanford Medicine Children’s Health) or (650) 724-9220 (Stanford Health Care contact for patients aged 18+), or by filling out this form via email. We welcome the chance to provide a second opinion or to partner with your child’s cardiologist to ensure the latest, most advanced care.

Can my child still receive care from you even if we live far away?

Yes. Many children who do not live nearby or have advanced cardiac needs come to us for their initial intervention, and then we continue to see them over the years at our outreach clinics across Northern California or via telehealth visits. We are dedicated to providing lifelong care, and we are more than happy to partner with your child’s local cardiologist.

Heart to Heart Talks

Learn what are the symptoms of heart disease in children and adults, and why it is important for individuals with congenital heart disease (CHD) to keep their follow up appointments with their cardiologist. The pediatric and adult cardiologists at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health and Stanford Health Care have answered these questions and many more.

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