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Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg Pediatr Card Surg Annu. 2017 Jan;20:28-32. doi: 10.1053/j.pcsu.2016.09.011.

The Evolution of an Adult Congenital Heart Surgery Program: The Emory System.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. Electronic address:
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.
Division of Cardiology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.


The Emory Adult Congenital Heart (Emory University, Atlanta, GA) program was founded in 2001. In 2004, the surgical component transitioned from a pediatric facility to an adult facility. The aim of this article is characterize the program as a whole, outline changes in the program, and discuss the challenges of the transition process. Between 2001 and 2015, changes in program structure and personnel were evaluated. There has been significant growth of the program between 2001 and 2015. There are currently 19 half-day clinics per week, with 2,700 clinic visits per year. There are six cardiologists, three congenital cardiac surgeons, two sonographers, one advanced practice provider, and one social worker dedicated to the program. There are Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited adult congenital cardiology and congenital cardiac surgery fellowships. One thousand forty-four operations were performed between 2001 and 2015. There were 828 open-heart operations, of which 581 (70%) were re-operations. Over the study period, the number of yearly operations increased from 30 to 119, and the mean age at surgery increased from 22 to 35 years. Over time, more of the operations were performed at the adult hospital: increasing from 3% in 2001 to 82% in 2015, and more of the operations were performed by congenital cardiac surgeons: 87% (114 of 131) before the 2004 transition to 97% (881 of 913) afterward. The Emory Adult Congenital Heart program has undergone significant growth and change, including transition of the surgical component from the pediatric to the adult facility. While numerous obstacles have been overcome and great progress has been made, additional challenges remain.

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