Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cardiovascular Institute is now home to Oregon’s only accredited program for adult patients who were born with heart defects.
The Adult Congenital Heart Association’s rigorous accreditation process ensures its accredited centers provide comprehensive and interdisciplinary care for adult congenital heart patients, who often have complex and ongoing health care needs throughout their lives. OHSU is now one of 32 institutions nationwide that are accredited by the association.
“We are honored to be recognized by the Adult Congenital Heart Association for OHSU’s 30-plus-year history of providing quality care to adult patients who were born with congenital heart defects,” said Craig Broberg, M.D., medical director of the OHSU Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program, and Victor Menashe Endowed Professor of Adult Congenital Heart Disease in the OHSU School of Medicine and Knight Cardiovascular Institute. “This accreditation acknowledges our institutional experience and ensures we can continue to help adult congenital heart disease patients improve their health far into the future.”
There are now more adults -- about 1.4 million -- living in the U.S. with congenital heart defects than children. As a result, it’s increasingly important for these adult patients to receive high-quality and specialized care, Broberg added. Such care ranges from surgery to psychological therapy.
“Accreditation will elevate the standard of care and have a positive impact on the futures of those living with this disease,” said Mark Roeder, president and CEO of the Adult Congenital Heart Association. “Coordination of care is key, and this accreditation program will make care more streamlined for adult congenital heart disease patients, improving their quality of life.”
The OHSU program oversees the care of more than 2,000 adult patients with congenital heart disease, most of whom are from Oregon, Southern Washington and Western Idaho.
The program’s two board-certified adult congenital heart disease specialists are Broberg and Abigail Khan, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine (cardiology) in the OHSU School of Medicine and Knight Cardiovascular Institute. The program also features Adrienne Kovacs, Ph.D., a psychologist who specializes in caring for adult cardiology patients who is also an associate professor of medicine (cardiology) in the OHSU School of Medicine and Knight Cardiovascular Institute. Other program team members include two nurse practitioners, a clinical nurse, a social worker and a medical assistant. The extended team includes experts in cardiac imaging, heart rhythm problems, heart failure, surgery, catheter-based interventions and women’s health.
OHSU’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program works closely with the Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease Program at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. The OHSU-Doernbecher Transition Program begins working with patients in adolescence to help seamlessly move their care into the adult program. The two programs also closely collaborate for research and to train both pediatric and adult congenital cardiologists.
Beyond patient care, the OHSU Adult Congenital Heart Disease team also is involved in a number of research and educational activities. For example, Broberg has studied how the heart muscle is affected by congenital defects over time as well as transplantation issues. He also is the lead researcher on a project creating the largest collection of clinical data on patients with a specific congenital heart condition called transposition of the great arteries.
The team’s impact also extends beyond the Pacific Northwest. Kovacs is president-elect of the International Society of Adult Congenital Heart Disease, and OHSU hosted the Annual International Symposium on Congenital Heart Disease in the Adult this spring.
Call 503-494-7400 to make an appointment with the OHSU Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program.
The Adult Congenital Heart Association is a nationwide organization focused on connecting patients, family members, and healthcare providers to form a community of support and a network of experts with knowledge of congenital heart disease. ACHA serves and supports the more than one million adults with congenital heart disease, their families and the medical community — working with them to address the unmet needs of the long-term survivors of congenital heart defects through education, outreach, advocacy and promotion of adult congenital heart disease research. For more information about the association, contact 888-921-ACHA or visit www.ACHAHeart.org.