While most congenital heart defects present at birth, around 10 percent of people with congenital heart disease don't have symptoms until adulthood. Even when defects are repaired during infancy or childhood, people born with congenital heart problems may continue to have cardiac issues requiring follow-up by a cardiologist throughout their lives.

Inova's adult and pediatric specialists collaborate to offer this unique population a seamless continuation of care with our full breadth of cardiovascular services, including cardiac imaging, cardiac surgery, advanced heart failure, and pulmonary hypertension programs.

Learn More about Congenital Heart Disease in our online health library

Treatment Options

Treatment depends on the severity and type of congenital heart defect. Some mild heart defects do not require any treatment. Others are managed with medications or treated with minimally invasive procedures or surgery. Fortunately, an increasing number of congenital heart defects that once required open heart surgery can now be treated with less invasive procedures. Our areas of specialization include:

Inova's end-stage heart failure program offers mechanical cardiac assist programs, including the only Joint Commission-certified ventricular assist device (VAD) program, as well as heart and lung transplantation. Inova Pulmonary Hypertension Program was one of the first in the country accredited as a Comprehensive Care Center by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association to care for adults with congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension.

Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) can be used as either a bridge therapy while awaiting transplant or, for some, is used as a longer-term solution to improve levels of functioning.

Heart and Lung Transplantation: We are a leader in both heart and lung transplantation services.

Lung PH care centers logoInova’s Pulmonary Hypertension Program was one of the first Comprehensive Care Centers to care for adults with congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension in the country, as named by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

Cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists perform advanced minimally invasive procedures to treat congenital heart defects. Some of these include transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), repairing coarctation of the aorta, atrial septal defect (ASD) closure, and catheter-based pulmonary valve replacement.

Electrophysiologists specialized in the management of adults with congenital heart disease treat all types of arrhythmias.

Inova cardiologists and cardiac surgeons offer specialized expertise in various techniques to resolve ASD, an abnormal opening between the heart's two upper chambers that causes blood to leak from one chamber to the other.

The aorta is the major artery that carries blood away from the heart to the body. Coarctation of the aorta is a narrowing of the aorta. This narrowing can sometimes resolve via a catheter inserted through the groin to inflate a balloon around the narrowing area, causing it to stretch and allow better blood flow. However, some patients may need a permanent stent, also placed by catheter, in the aorta's narrowed area.

Inova's high-risk obstetric specialists carefully manage women with congenital heart disease during pregnancy. The team also cares for women carrying a baby with suspected congenital heart disease, including specialized care for the mother and baby during labor, delivery, and post-natal care of the newborn.

Inova cardiologists and cardiac surgeons offer specialized expertise in advanced valve therapies for adults with congenital septal defects, such as atrial septal defects (ASD) and ventricular septal defects (VSD).

  • ASD is an abnormal opening between the heart's two upper chambers that causes blood to leak from one chamber to the other.
  • VSD is a hole in the wall (septum) that separates the two lower chambers of the heart (right and left ventricles). VSDs are the most common type of congenital heart defect.

Learn more about advanced valve therapies offered in partnership with our Structural Heart Program

The Congenital Heart Program at Inova Children’s Hospital has been caring for the hearts of our region’s children for more than 25 years. Board-certified pediatric cardiologists, electrophysiologists, anesthesiologists, radiologists, and congenital cardiac surgeons have dedicated their practice to helping children overcome complex congenital anomalies, including hypoplastic left heart and other single ventricle syndromes. Fetal cardiologists partner with obstetrics, maternal fetal medicine and other pediatric specialists for multi-disciplinary care coordination and consultation. Each year, our pediatric cardiac surgeons perform approximately 300 surgeries with outcomes that outperform national benchmarks and standards.

Learn More about the Programs at Inova Children's Hospital:

Support Services

Inova offers seamless care for patients with congenital heart disease from birth through adulthood, including assistance from social workers and access to mental health services to help with transitions of care.

Additionally, the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) offers valuable information on living with and understanding your condition.

Visit the ACHA Website