Heart and Vascular Center

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease, the most common birth defect, is a heart defect that occurs during fetal development in the uterus. About one out of every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect, which can involve one or more heart structures or blood vessels around the heart.

In most cases, the cause of the defect is unknown, but research has suggested that congenital heart disease may be the result of a genetic abnormality or exposure of the developing fetus to certain medications, toxic substances, alcohol or drugs.

St. Joseph Hospital offers breakthrough treatment

In January 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the nation's first transcatheter valve - the Melody® Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve (TPV). With Melody® TPV Therapy a thin, hollow tube (catheter) holding a specially designed heart valve is inserted into a vein in the leg and guided to the heart. The heart valve is attached to a wire frame that expands with the help of a balloon to push the blocked pulmonary conduit open.

In August 2010, St. Joseph Hospital became one of the nation's first hospitals to place the Melody ® TPV in four patients who were born with a congenital heart defect. Utilizing Orange County's first hybrid OR, which incorporates a robotic 3D imaging system, Farhouch Berdjis, MD, and Richard Gates, MD, successfully implanted the Melody® TPV in two pediatric patients ages 11 and 12, and two young adults ages, 18 and 21. All four patients were discharged the next day.

Individuals born with a complex congenital heart defect often face a lifetime of surgery and hospitalizations. The Melody® TPV provides an option for many patients and can significantly reduce re-operation rate. The Melody® TPV reduces hospital stays and speeds up recovery times. Most patients are able to return to normal activities within a week.

During the past few decades revolutionary advances like the Melody® TPV have resulted in excellent outcomes. This means that children treated for a congenital heart defect have now reached adulthood. Many of these patients are leading full, productive lives and have children of their own. In fact, the number of adult patients with congenital heart disease is now greater than those under age 20. Today, at least half a million adults in the United States have congenital heart disease.

For information on the St. Joseph Hospital Adult Congenital Heart Program click here.
For more information on the Melody® TVP, click here.