Web Booklet: Adults With Congenital Heart Defects

Updated:Aug 29,2017
From the Committee on Adults with Congenital Heart Disease of the American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young and Council on Clinical Cardiology.

Select a topic from the list below to learn more.

Web Booklet: Adults With Congenital Heart Defects


Diagnostic Evaluation
In each of the sections on specific congenital heart problems, regular follow-up with a cardiologist is recommended. This section describes the types of tests that often will be performed. Cardiologists will take your medical history and perform a physical exam. They may also order an electrocardiogram (called an EKG or ECG), chest X-ray, or an echocardiogram (ultrasound movie of the heart). Blood tests are particularly important in patients with cyanosis and single ventricle hearts treated with Fontan operations.

The cardiology staff will talk to you about each test. Don’t hesitate to ask the cardiologist, nurse or technician to explain these tests. After your tests are completed, your cardiologist will explain the results and whether further care is needed.

Sometimes the initial tests don’t provide enough information for a complete diagnosis and more tests may be needed. These include cardiac catheterization and angiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and CT scanning, Holter recording and stress testing.

Special Heart Rhythm Testing
Some patients have primary problems with their heart rhythm and require more testing. That are outlined below, and there is also helpful information in our Arrhythmias content area.

View our Heart & Stroke Encyclopedia to find simple definitions of complex terms.