Background: As the growing number of patients with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is surviving into the adulthood, the availability of regional centers that specialize in the treatment and follow-up care of adults with CHD bears a great importance. The need is especially pronounced for the population in the Middle East where the defect may not be detected in timely manner.
Methods: The clinical records of 30 patients referred to the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at a tertiary care hospital in Western Saudi Arabia were reviewed for the study. The patients were categorized into four groups based on their diagnoses: left to right shunt lesions; complex lesions; obstructive lesions; and arrhythmia. Following the diagnosis, four different type of treatments were provided to patients: 1) Interventional catheterization, 2) Surgery, 3) Medical treatment, or 4) No intervention.
Results: The patients in the complex lesions group exhibited the most serious and the highest number of symptoms. Fifteen patients underwent the cardiac interventional catheterization, eleven patients underwent surgery, one patient was placed on a medical treatment, and one patient was deemed not to be in need of any treatment.
Conclusion: Many of the patients with complex lesions were diagnosed relatively late in childhood and therefore had late first interventions. The regional facility equipped to early diagnose CHD and provide optimal treatment would increase patients’ quality of life and reduce the ultimate health care costs. An awareness of the importance of the early diagnosis and treatment on the part of the primary physician, along with the education of patients and family affected with congenital heart disease on the importance of continued follow-up care in the center that specializes in adult congenital heart disease cannot be over-emphasized.
Omar M Galal
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