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Comprehensive Program Offers Lifelong Care to Congenital Heart Disease Patients

May 01, 2023

The Heart Center at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children is part of the region's most comprehensive care program tailored specifically to patients aging with congenital heart disease (CHD). By combining sophisticated neonatal, pediatric and adult cardiac treatments with advanced technology and a collaborative approach among pediatric cardiology and adult congenital cardiology specialists, Orlando Health offers CHD patients personalized, lifelong care.

David Briston, MD
David Briston, MD

The most common type of birth defect, congenital heart disease affects about one percent of live births annually. "Years ago, few born with complex heart conditions survived to any significant age," says David Briston, MD. Fellowship trained in pediatric cardiology, Dr. Briston sees adolescent patients with CHD at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer. He is quadruple boarded, including in pediatric cardiology and adult congenital heart disease. Dr. Briston also is the newly appointed medical director for adult congenital cardiology.

Today, more than 90 percent of CHD patients reach adulthood due to diagnostic, surgical and postoperative advancements. The condition, however, often creates ancillary cardiovascular and systemic complications, including intracerebral hemorrhage, pulmonary hypertension, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation, valve disease, acute myocardial infarction and heart failure.

"The consequences are lifelong, and every patient is nuanced because their hearts age differently, especially after repair," says Dr. Briston. "Someone with moderate to severely complex disease or who has had congenital heart surgery should always be under the care of an adult congenital cardiologist who can coordinate the complex, lifelong care they require. Fortunately, we have the ability at Orlando Health to provide that continuity of care al on one campus."

The Heart Center's specialists work collaboratively with experts at the Center for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies and board-certified fetal cardiologists and sonographers at the Fetal Cardiac Program. The multidisciplinary team at the Orlando Health Heart and Vascular Institute offers the broad spectrum of lifelong care necessary for adult patients.

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