Transition to Adult Care

Adolescence (10-18) and young adulthood (20-24) is marked by significant physical, social, behavioral, and psychological changes that are a normal part of growing up.

It is important to starting establishing healthy behavior patterns that will have a positive impact on current and future health outcomes. 

Goals of Transitioning to Adult Care:

  • To learn about your heart condition so that you will be able to explain about your heart, help in decision making with your doctor, and take charge/responsibility of your health.
  • To use the proper adult health care services and be comfortable talking to doctors.
  • To know and understand health promoting behaviors.

Why should I know about my heart condition and how can I gain the knowledge I need?

  • You will be assuming responsibility for your own care as you become an independent adult.
  • Ask your cardiologist for copies of your appointment notes and test results.
  • Work with your caregivers to develop a brief summary of your diagnosis, surgical history, and current medications in case you need healthcare when you are away from home. This is especially helpful if you are travelling or going away to school. 
  • Tell all of your health care providers about your heart and medications you are currently taking as some new medications will not be safe for you to take with your current medications and some procedures may be more risky.

Why should I receive regular follow-up with a cardiologist? I feel fine

  • We know from experience that sometimes your heart can develop problems with no outward symptoms, even 10 years after surgery. 
  • These complications can be treated more easily and with less long term damage if they are recognized early.
  • Even if you have no symptoms, it is important to have regular check-ups to make sure nothing has changed. 
  • To have an opportunity to ask questions related to your heart health.

Why do I have to see a special cardiologist?

  • Congenital heart disease/defects (CHD) problems are different than most heart problems that adults have (heart attacks for example).
  • Cardiologists at an Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) clinic have special training to take care of adults with CHD.
  • It is recommended to have a check-up at an ACHD clinic at least once a year.
How do I find an ACHD clinic near me?