The population of adults with CHD continues to expand, and thus the number of women with CHD who contemplate pregnancy or become pregnant is also growing. Mothers with low-risk defects can be managed by general cardiologist, whereas those with more complex defects should be managed by or with the assistance of ACHD cardiologists. It is important to acknowledge that all patients with CHD may have unique anatomy or physiology, despite their classification as having a simple, moderate, or complex defect. As such, clinicians evaluating these patients should have adequate knowledge and expertise when assessing patient's risk for pregnancy, when performing imaging or hemodynamic studies, and when managing these patients during pregnancy. The American Board of Medical Specialties has recently recognized ACHD as a subspecialty of cardiovascular disease to treat the specialized needs of these patients in adulthood. ACHD experts can provide expertise in the management of specific defects or lesions, imaging techniques, prepregnancy risk assessment, and can manage these patients or comanage them with other medical providers during their pregnancy. Because many of these ACHD patients are lost to follow-up in adulthood, pregnancy represents a time when these patients seek medical care (and for some, represents a time of vulnerability and increased risk). This represents an opportunity to establish or reestablish care with ACHD specialists and to reestablish continuing long-term care for their CHD. Pregnancy also provides an opportunity to create partnerships between primary care physicians, adult cardiologists, and ACHD specialists to provide optimal care for these women throughout their lives.
- congenital heart defect
- congenital heart disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)