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Heart disease doesn’t always develop later in life. Sometimes, you’re born with it. We group heart conditions that are present at birth together and call them congenital heart disease.
Doctors often identify congenital heart disease early in life. But some people don’t learn of their condition until they’re adults. At UW Health, we partner with you to provide lifelong care, no matter when you get your diagnosis. We give special attention to children transitioning from pediatric to adult heart specialists. We’re also a trusted resource to people as they enter different life stages, such as pregnancy.
Our adult congenital heart disease program is nationally accredited — only a select group of centers in the U.S. have achieved this status.
Conditions we treat
There are many forms of congenital heart disease. They range from tiny holes in the heart to heart valves that don’t work as they should.
Specific conditions we treat include:
Aortic arch anomalies
Aortic valve disease
Aortic valve insufficiency
Atrioventricular canal defect
Bicuspid aortic valve
Coarctation of the aorta
Cyanotic congenital heart defect
Heart failure (cardiomyopathy)
Hypoplastic left or right heart syndrome
Interrupted aortic arch
Mitral valve prolapse
Parachute mitral valve
Partial or total anomalous pulmonary venous return
Patent ductus arteriosus
Pulmonary valve insufficiency
Pulmonary valve stenosis
Peripheral pulmonary stenosis
Subvalvar aortic stenosis
Supravalvar aortic stenosis
Tetralogy of Fallot
Transposition of the great arteries (d-TGA, cc-TGA, l-TGA)
Unicuspid aortic valve
Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Ventricular septal defect
Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome
Treatments and research
Lifelong care for all your heart health needs
We tailor treatment to your needs. Some conditions cause few or no issues at first. We monitor them carefully because they might get worse over time. Other conditions can be life-threatening right away. Even problems that were addressed when you were a child could need more attention later in life.
We follow your health closely and explain your options clearly. We make sure you get the right help at the right time to best suit your lifestyle.
These procedures allow us to correct heart problems without surgery and are performed in a hybrid lab, which is a world-class first in patient safety and uses low-dose radiation. They involve threading a thin tube called a catheter through a blood vessel to your heart. We then pass tiny specialized tools through the catheter to treat your heart issue.
We use state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging tools, including cardiac MRI, CCTA, CT, echocardiogram and ultrasound, to pinpoint the location of concern and make treatment recommendations.
Devices such as pacemakers and implantable defibrillators are helpful for some conditions. These devices help control your heart rate or correct abnormal heart rhythms.
Medication can sometimes help control symptoms. It can help your heart work better or lower your risk for complications.
Surgery allows us to correct heart defects you were born with or conditions that resulted from prior surgeries and interventions on your heart. UW Health surgeons work closely with our adult congenital heart specialists. Our Congenital Heart Program combines the expertise of specialists from multiple teams, backgrounds and disciplines to provide state-of-the-art, innovative care across all ages and for all complex congenital heart conditions.
Procedures we offer
Some of the specific procedures we offer include:
Aortic valve surgical repair or replacement
Aortic valve-sparing surgery
Atrial fibrillation ablation
Atrial septal defect repair
Cardiac resynchronization therapy
Coarctation of Aorta repair
Endografts for aortic disease
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators
Laser lead extraction
Left atrial appendage closure (Watchman implant)
Mitral valve repair or replacement
Pulmonary artery reconstruction (surgical or stents)
Pulmonary valve repair or replacement
Subaortic resection surgery
Thoracic aortic aneurysm repair (open surgery)
Thoracic aortic aneurysm repair (endovascular graft)
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement
Transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement
Tricuspid valve repair or replacement
Valve repair or replacement surgery (minimally invasive)
Ventricular septal defect repair
Research and clinical trials
At UW Health, finding better ways to help our patients is one of our goals. We have a team of hundreds of doctors, researchers and others dedicated to helping patients improve their health. They work together to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat heart disease, including congenital heart conditions.
As our patient, you may have access to tests, treatments and therapies that other people may not.
Specialty clinics and services
Resources to support you
Congenital heart disease can have a big impact on your life. We work to address all the challenges it can bring. With helpful clinics and services, we provide the most advanced monitoring and treatments. We also make sure you have the right support. Our goal is to make your condition easier to manage.
Clinics and services
Cardiac genetic counseling
Some types of congenital heart disease run in families. At UW Health, you have access to something patients in most other programs don’t: A cardiac genetic counselor. The counselor can help you determine if other family members should be tested. The sooner a family member is diagnosed, the sooner they can be treated.
Cardiac wellness and nutrition
Coaching and counseling on nutrition, exercise and mental health play a key role in both your heart health and overall health. Through a variety of approaches, the Wellness Center offers education to help develop lifestyle habits for long-term heart health.
This program uses special tests to diagnose heart rhythm problems.
Heart Failure Management Program
This program connects people living with heart failure to top doctors, the latest treatments, education and support services.
Heart Valve Clinic
Through this clinic, we bring together heart and imaging specialists and surgeons. They join forces to offer you the treatments best suited for your type of valve disease.
Inherited Arrhythmia Clinic
Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms. They result from disorders in your heart’s electrical system. Our clinic provides help to patients and families with heart rhythm disorders that are passed on from one generation to the next.
Adult congenital heart disease
Follow-up care is essential
If you were born with heart disease, follow-up care is essential to your health. UW Health's ACHD program is here to help.
Meet our team
Skill, compassion and results set our team apart
Where you get your care matters. You want expertise, doctors who care and the best results. You’ll find all of that at UW Health. Our specialists are known for their experience in all aspects of congenital heart disease care. Some of our surgeons operate on both children and adults, which is rare. We work to meet your needs so that you can live fully and comfortably.
Help is nearby
With clinic locations and services in Madison, Wausau and Green Bay, help is nearby.
At UW Health, we provide a full range of services for conditions affecting your heart and circulatory system. Here, you’ll find expert preventive care, advanced diagnostic tests and innovative treatments.