It's a timely achievement. Although many congenital heart defects
were once fatal in childhood, dramatic improvements in surgeons'
ability to repair such defects has increased the number of U.S. adults
living with them to more than one million. Yet a successful childhood
surgical repair does not cure most congenital heart disease patients,
doctors have learned. And congenital defects can interact with
cardiovascular problems acquired with age.
"These are patients who need ongoing monitoring and treatment
to help them navigate the risks of living with lingering heart
problems," said cardiologist Daniel Murphy, MD, who was
instrumental in advocating for the new subspecialty to be formally
recognized. The population of adults living with heart defects they
were born with is growing by about 20,000 people per year as
adolescents graduate to adult care, he noted. And such patients are
seeking care at destination programs like Stanford's.
"This new board certification exam is the result of over a
decade of really hard work by leaders in the adult congenital cardiac
community," Murphy said. "It enforces training and knowledge
standards that we think these patients have a right to expect when
they seek medical care from a specialist."
The Stanford physicians who obtained their board certification are
MD, the program's medical director and a clinical assistant
professor of cardiovascular medicine and pediatric cardiology at the
Stanford University School of Medicine; Ian Rogers, MD,
clinical assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine and pediatric
McElhinney, MD, professor of cardiothoracic surgery; Anne Dubin, MD,
professor of pediatric cardiology; Kara
Motonaga, MD, clinical assistant professor of pediatric
cardiology; Scott Ceresnak,
MD, assistant professor of pediatric cardiology; and Nikola Tede, MD, a pediatric cardiologist who
sees patients at California Pacific Medical Center through its
alliance with Stanford Children's Health.
Stanford's program, a collaboration between Stanford Health Care and
Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, has a long history as a
national leader in the care of adult congenital heart patients.
"This is a field which requires people to bring a lot of
different kinds of skills, experience and knowledge to their
interactions with patients," Murphy said. "I'm really proud
of our physicians. Their success validates the training we have here
and shows that we're on the right track for providing care for this
important group of patients."