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Memorial Healthwatch Winter/Spring 2009

Leading-Edge Cardiac Surgery – Enhancing Quality of Life for Patients

Specialty Care Excellence for Congenital Heart Disease

Specialty Care Excellence for Congenital Heart Disease

Each year, nine of every 1,000 babies are born with congenital heart disease (CHD), according to the American Heart Association. These heart defects can range from the symptomless with no required treatment, to mild and easily treated, to the life-threateningly severe. Thanks to medical and surgical advances, deaths due to CHD are declining, and more infants with CHD grow up to be energetic, active adults.

The survival of so many children with CHD, plus those whose symptoms first appear in adulthood, results in a group of patients who require specialty care. Dr. Scholl and Richard A. Perryman, MD, Chief of Cardiac Surgical Services, provide expert diagnosis and treatment of CHD in patients of all ages. Dr. Perryman excels at diagnosing CHD in adults with arrhythmias or decreased exercise tolerance, and in performing complex corrective operations.

Richard Perryman, MD

Richard A. Perryman, MD
Chief of Cardiac Surgical Services

A 25-year-old college student was passing out during final exams. When consulted, Dr. Perryman identified her childhood heart defect as the root of her problem. After surgery at the age of 6 months, she had been fine for nearly a quarter of a century – then her heart rhythm went haywire.

In a 10-hour operation, Dr. Perryman replaced her tricuspid valve and added an aortic valve, which she was missing. The rapid heart beats stopped immediately, and she has been active and symptom-free for more than a year.

People who have CHD should monitor their heart health throughout their lives because new heart problems, or even first symptoms, can appear at almost any age.

"Many patients with CHD treated in childhood think they are cured, but they eventually develop symptoms – particularly arrhythmias," says Dr. Perryman. "If you have congenital heart disease, you have it for life."

At Memorial, CHD patients of all ages can find the medical expertise, collaboration and compassionate care that can help improve their quality of life.

To find a Memorial physician who is committed to patient- and family-centered care, call Memorial Physician Referral Service toll-free at (800) 944-DOCS. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.