Effective ways to manage adult congenital heart disease go well beyond corrective surgery. We’re here to help you understand current options for living a healthy, satisfying life with ACHD, including medications, how often to monitor your condition and smart lifestyle habits.
Certain medications can strengthen your heart and help it work efficiently. Drugs also can be part of a preventive care plan. Keeping your heart healthy before any symptoms arise or an infection takes hold. Medications for ACHD may include:
- Anti-arrhythmic drugs to control an irregular or abnormal heartbeat
- Antibiotics to prevent potential infection from some dental or surgical procedures
- Blood thinners, such as aspirin, to prevent blood clots
- Diuretics to reduce extra fluid in the body and lower blood pressure
- High blood pressure medications
- Medications that increase the force of your heart’s contraction and slow it down, making it more efficient
- Medications to widen blood vessels so blood can flow more easily
We’ll partner with you to keep an eye on your condition and get you specialized care if and when you need it. Keep in mind these guidelines for optimal health with ACHD:
- Have your heart checked at a dedicated ACHD health center to determine that your heart and any earlier repairs are still working properly.
- If you have low-risk or moderate CHD, visit an ACHD center at least once. For moderate or complex CHD, get a follow-up every year or two. If your CHD is very complex, visit an ACHD center every six to 12 months.
- Be honest about and seek help for emotional and social needs, such as depression or anxiety and insurance or employment issues.
- If you have a medical emergency of any kind, make sure your emergency care workers know about your ACHD.
Knowledge is power—and security. Be your own best advocate with these tips:
- Learn all you can about your particular ACHD so you can accurately describe it to health providers. Understand your risks and how to spot potential problems.
- Keep an updated notebook of your medical history, including all medications and doses, appointments, tests and surgeries.
- Make sure your pharmacist knows about your ACHD to avoid any adverse interactions with other medications.
- Maintain an exercise routine with the knowledge and support of your heart doctor.
- If you’re of childbearing age, talk to your doctor about safe birth control methods. If you plan to get pregnant, discuss your ACHD with your doctor first.