COVID-19 information and resources: Learn more or call 877‑9NOVANT

Heart & Vascular Institute

Adult congenital heart disease

Doctor speaking with patient in office
Home Services Heart & Vascular Conditions Adult congenital heart disease

Using the latest medical advances to support you and your condition

Medical advances have allowed more infants and children born with heart defects to live longer lives. As a result, we have a higher number of adults that are living with adult congenital heart disease. Novant Health provides comprehensive care through a network of expert providers to help you live longer and healthier regardless of your diagnosis.

Congenital heart defects, defects that are present at birth, often require treatment or medications throughout your adult life. Let Novant Health’s team of cardiologists work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan for your specific diagnosis. Learn more about the types of congenital heart defects we treat.

 Atrial septal defect (ASD)

Atrial septal defect (ASD)

An atrial septal defect is a hole in the wall that separates the upper chambers of your heart. When this hole is present, blood that show flow to the left ventricle instead pumps back to the right side of the heart and back to the lungs, creating more work for the heart. These defects are congenital (present at birth) and can go undetected for decades depending on size and severity of the defect. Adults with undetected atrial septal defects may have a shortened life span due to high blood pressure and heart failure. However, small defects may not pose any threat to your health as an adult and may not require any intervention or treatment.

If you have a large atrial septal defect, your Novant Health provider will recommend closing it during a cardiac catheterization to close the hole. If your defect cannot be closed using this method, your cardiologist may suggest open-heart surgery.

 Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

A patent foramen ovale is a hole in the heart that did not close after birth. This hole is between the upper chambers of the heart. If the formane ovale flap does not close during infancy, it causes a patent foramen ovale. Many adults are not aware they have this as it oftentimes does not produce symptoms and requires no treatment.

If your Novant Health provider determines your PFO requires closure, this may be done surgically or with a device that will “plug” the hole through cardiac catheterization.

 Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

A ventricular septal defect is a hole in the wall that separates the lower two chambers of our heart. When this hole does not close during fetal development, oxygen rich blood pumps back to the right side of the heart and back to the lungs, causing high blood pressure and reduced oxygen to the body. This defect is congenital (present at birth) and is most common defect found with newborns. It is not as common with adults as some VSD’s close on their own. Smaller ventricular septal defects are typically found in adults and usually do not cause symptoms. However, even smaller VSD’s can be a source of infection in the heart called endocarditis.

Depending on the size of your VSD and whether you have had an instance of endocarditis, or infection, because of your defect, your Novant Health provider may recommend a closure of the VSD with surgery or with a device that will “plug” the hole during cardiac catheterization.

For more information on our treatments or to learn more about your diagnosis, find a Novant Health provider close to you.