Cardiothoracic Services (Heart and Lung)

Adult congenital heart service

The Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) team cares for patients who have been born with a heart defect, often requiring surgery shortly after birth.

We also treat patients who have acquired similar conditions, for example patients who have had an infection affecting the heart which has led to a deterioration of the heart structure.

We provide a wide range of inpatient and outpatient procedures - from diagnostic testing through to highly complex heart surgery. 

We are the only unit in the UK to offer heart transplantation to this group of patients, and we have excellent clinical outcomes.


What services we provide

Investigations

Your doctor may decide that investigations are necessary to determine the severity of your condition and the best way to proceed with management. The investigations include:

  • Cardiac catheterisation
  • Echocardiograms
  • CT
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • ECG
  • blood test

If you are an inpatient we will arrange for any required investigations to be done while you are in with us. If you are an outpatient arrangements will be made for you and appointments sent out in the post. If you have any problems attending appointments contact either the appointments line or one of our specialist nurses.

Interventions

Sometimes ACHD patients will require intervention for their condition. These are procedures to treat or cure conditions and their side effects without the use of surgery. If you require an intervention you will be asked to attend one of our wards where depending on your individual case you may stay only as a day case or you may need a longer stay with us.

Surgery

Adults with congenital heart problems sometimes need cardiac surgery. We have three specialist surgeons who are very experienced in operating on patients with congenital heart disease. Our surgical team is available 24/7.

Transplantation

Alongside routine and complex surgeries our centre is the only one in the UK to offer heart transplantation to this complex patient group. Our surgeons are very experienced and we have excellent clinical outcomes for our Adult congenital patients.

If your consultant thinks you may be coming to a stage in your condition that a heart transplant could be required you may be asked to come for transplant assessment. For transplant assessment you will usually stay with us for around 3 nights.

During your stay you will have lots of tests done, once we have gathered all the information we need from you your case will be discussed amongst the Adult congenital cardiologists and surgeons as well as the transplant coordinators.

If you have been asked to come for transplant assessment and you have any questions please get in touch with your cardiologist or specialist nurses.

Clinics

Where is clinic?

All our clinics are held in the Main Outpatients Department at the Freeman Hospital. You should report to the out patients reception when you arrive and they will tell you which clinic waiting area to go to.

Why come to clinic?

Clinics are an important opportunity for us to see you and for you to see us. If yours is a follow up appointment we will be able to see how you’ve been getting on since you last saw us in clinic or since your last procedure, operation or hospital stay.

If you are a new patient it’s a great opportunity for us to meet and get to know you and tell you about the services we provide. Clinic also gives you the chance to ask any questions you have about your health and condition, or to let us know how you’re feeling.

Who will you see?

While you’re in clinic you will see clinic staff, nurse specialists, echo techs, a consultant or registrar, phlebotomist, ECG tech.

What will happen and how long can you expect to be at clinic?

Once you’ve checked in you will be directed to the appropriate waiting area. From there the clinic staff will call you in to check your blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, height and weight.

After you’ve been seen by clinic staff you will be seen in the following areas (though not necessarily in this order):

  • ECG
  • Echo
  • Phlebotomy
  • Consultation with the doctor

You can expect to be in clinic for approximately 1.5 hours, sometimes you may be in longer.

Obstetrics

Once a month we have a joint up ADHD obstetrics clinic where patients who are pregnant or who are planning a pregnancy can see specialists from both cardiology and obstetrics.

Advice on family planning, contraception, pregnancy care and delivery planning is all available alongside consultation with your usual cardiologist so that we can ensure that you receive the best and most appropriate care and advice.

If you have any family planning or pregnancy questions contact the specialist nurses who will advise and book you into clinic. We also have links with the Genetics service should you need require any information or assistance from them.

Dentistry

Good dental health is important for all patients who have heart problems. A dental co-ordinator is available in all our clinics.

Specialist teams

The specialist nursing team is an integral part of our service. Our nurses provide support and advice to patients throughout their whole journey with us - this could be information as basic as parking arrangements and as complex as heart transplantations.

Dedicated surgeons

Adults with congenital heart problems sometimes need cardiac surgery. We have three dedicated surgeons who are experienced in operating on patients with congenital heart problems. The surgical team is available 24/7.

Clinical governance

Monitoring patients is a key part of our work. We have monthly meetings where we discuss results and problems occurring in the previous month. We also submit surgical and catheter intervention results to the national database: the results are available on the CCAD website.

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