In This Video
- Ami Bhatt, MD, is the director of the Mass General Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program
- Here, she discusses her team's longitudinal and comprehensive approach when treating this patient population
We have a real opportunity in adults with congenital heart disease. We follow them from a young age. We take them through their 20s and 30s and 40s. And in our ability to do that, not only do we take care of congenital heart disease, but we get to prevent the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
The challenge for our research is figuring out who the specific populations are with congenital heart disease, who are at greater risk for developing atherosclerotic disease. Our research has been focused on really analyzing the data that we already collect for adults with congenital heart disease and seeing what can we learn from that that helps prevent cardiovascular disease in older age. We hope that this is a healthy population because we've done a good job with congenital heart disease. But even more so, we hope that this is a population who doesn't develop any new cardiovascular disease in their older years.
Adults with congenital heart disease are surviving into old age. Unfortunately, along with that comes the risk of atherosclerotic disease. In our study, we assessed the risk of atherosclerotic disease in adults with congenital heart disease as well as statin use for treatment of people who had atherosclerotic risk factors. It is interesting to find that adults with congenital heart disease are actually not treated with statins as often as they should be. We think a little bit about what the causes for this under treatment might be, and yes there is some associated liver disease, although in our population that was only limited to two patients. But there is also a lack of understanding that during congenital heart disease visits, we need to make time for thinking about these people as older adults and emphasize cardiac prevention.
It’s a great study for us, provides a little bit of insight into ways that we can change our practice models. Using this research, we actually built a health and wellness program where we have separate visits to talk about atherosclerotic disease prevention rather than congenital heart disease management.
Learn more about the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program
Refer a patient to the Mass General Heart Center