Adults with congenital heart defects: what you should know

The Herz- und Diabeteszentrum NRW (HDZ NRW), Bad Oeynhausen, has once again been approved as a "National Center for Adults with Congenital Heart Defects" (EMAH). The first re-certification since 2011 was awarded by the German Societies for Cardiac and Vascular Research; Pediatric Cardiology; and Thoracic, Cardiac and Vascular Surgery. CEO Dr. Karin Overlack congratulated the Chief Physicians responsible for the treatment of congenital heart defects at the HDZ NRW, Prof. Dr. Dieter Horstkotte (cardiology), Prof. Dr. Deniz Kececioglu (pediatric cardiology) and Dr. Eugen Sandica (pediatric cardiosurgery): "Adults with congenital heart defects require specialized, interdisciplinary treatment and aftercare. We are delighted that the assessors have once again chosen to honor the great experience and competence of our cardiac specialists."

One child in every 100 is born with a heart defect. Thanks to the outstanding medical treatment available today, more than 90% of patients now survive into adulthood. In Germany approx. 200,000 adults live with a complex congenital heart defect. They require specialized aftercare for the rest of their lives. This requires close cooperation between the relevant specialist areas of pediatric cardiology, adult cardiology and pediatric cardiosurgery, a cooperation which also includes pulmonary and vascular specialists.

A total of 16 centers in Germany are officially approved as EMAH centers, and they have all had to meet numerous quality criteria in order to be awarded this recognition by the specialist societies. Following initial qualification in 2011 and having furthered their expertise and experience with an ever-growing number of patients, the Bad Oeynhausen specialists have now been re-certified and three additional physicians have also attained the EMAH qualification. The assessors particularly praised the very high level of both staff and equipment used at the HDZ NRW to provide the entire spectrum of examinations and interventions required in conjunction with congenital heart defects, including coronary interventions, electrophysiological examinations, pacemaker and ICD controls. Under the same roof at the university hospital, patients with congenital heart defects can also attend special outpatients units which provide recommended advice for specific aspects such as human genetics or pregnancy.