Congenital Heart Disease in Adults

Thanks to medical breakthroughs, more and more babies born with congenital heart disease, a condition where the heart doesn’t form the normal way, are surviving into adulthood. “At this time worldwide, there are more adult patients than pediatric patients with congenital heart disease,” said Barta.

However, adults with congenital heart disease still need to meet regularly with heart specialists like Lee Health Nurse Practitioner Shantelle Bartra. “Those patients need lifelong monitoring and surveillance of their congenital heart defect from the original surgery they had. They are at risk for needing repeat surgeries to go back and redo certain parts of the repairs.”

Bartra said these patients are also at risk of acquired heart disease. “Such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure that can also affect the heart in different ways aside from the original congenital heart defect.”

When Barta sees patients in clinic, she does tests to look for any abnormal heart rhythms. She may also use echocardiographs. “To better visualize the heart, look at their heart structure, see how their valves are functioning.”

She also highlights some of the risks of pregnancy to her female patients. “We work with maternal fetal medicine to proactively watch those women if they do become pregnant, and make sure they are safe during their pregnancy,” said Barta. With the right monitoring, many of these patients are able to live active and healthy lives.

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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.

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