Adult Congenital Heart Disease


While many adults born with congenital heart disease (CHD) may experience ongoing symptoms, others may have mild cases in which symptoms don’t appear until adulthood. Or their symptoms may reappear years after receiving treatment for a CHD-related issue such as a pulmonary valve replacement.

Adults with CHD may experience the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Fatigue, particularly with exercise
  • Swelling in areas of the body such as the abdomen, legs, ankle, and feet (edema)
  • Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin, lips, and fingernails (cyanosis)

If you have symptoms of CHD or were treated for CHD as a child, you should make an appointment with your doctor. However, if your symptoms include shortness of breath and/or chest pain, you should promptly seek medical attention, as these could be signs of a life-threatening emergency.