Congenital Heart Disease

In Maryland, University of Maryland Physicians Care for the Most Heart Surgery Patients - University of Maryland Medical Center

University of Maryland Heart and Vascular Center provides lifelong care for patients with congenital heart disease. In many cases, the care begins even before birth, in our fetal care center.

Congenital heart patients have many unique needs, both as children and later as adults. We provide seamless comprehensive care for patients of all ages through our Center for Advanced Fetal Care, Children’s Heart Program and Adult Congenital Heart Program.

Our pediatric and adult congenital heart teams work together, following our patients as they transition from child to adult care. Our goal is to provide our patients with seamless care, helping them live long, full, healthy lives.

What is Congenital Heart Disease?

Congenital heart disease is a category of heart abnormalities that are present at birth. The abnormality often develops during pregnancy and can even be diagnosed before the baby is born.

Types of congenital heart disease we commonly treat include:

  • Ebstein’s anomaly
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Hypoplastic left or right heart syndromes
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Transposition of the great vessels
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Causes of Congenital Heart Disease

Most of the time, we don’t know the cause of congenital heart defects. There are some associated risk factors, including:

  • Genetic or chromosomal abnormalities in the child
  • Taking certain medications during pregnancy
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol during pregnancy 
  • Certain viral infections during the first trimester of pregnancy 

We offer genetic testing to determine if family members are at risk for developing heart disease. Learn more about cardiogenetic testing.

Congenital Heart Disease Symptoms

We often diagnose congenital heart disease during pregnancy or at birth, before symptoms develop. However, there are adults who may have been born with a defect that was never diagnosed. They may not develop symptoms until much later in life. If you experience symptoms, they may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Limited ability to exercise

Diagnosing Congenital Heart Disease

We can diagnose heart problems in an unborn child using an advanced imaging test called fetal echocardiogram. For children or young adults, the first sign we may notice of heart disease is a heart murmur. If we detect a murmur during a physical examination, we will order more tests to confirm a diagnosis. Learn more about cardiac diagnosis.

Treating Congenital Heart Disease

Our heart teams provide comprehensive, personalized care for children and adults with congenital heart disease. We provide all the care you need right here on our campus, so there’s no need to travel elsewhere for advanced diagnostic procedures or minimally invasive procedures.

Our heart teams will discuss your treatment plan with you, including options for surgical procedures and medication regimens.

Learn more about care for congenital heart disease at our:

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 1-866-408-6885.

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