Thanks to major advances in treating congenital heart disease, more than 90 percent of all children born with heart defects will survive to adulthood. This is a major success story in the medical world and has resulted in a new group of adults with congenital heart disease.

There are more than 1 million adults with congenital heart disease living in the U.S., of which about 15,000 live in Wisconsin. While many are doing well, these adults — regardless of their current condition — are at risk for unique health problems. For this reason, the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program was developed to provide lifelong follow-up care by physicians who specialize in caring for adults with congenital heart disease.

The ACHD Program was created by Herma Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in partnership with Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin. It offers comprehensive care, including diagnostic testing, surgery and heart catheterizations.

I invite you to watch my video below to learn more about why specialized care for these adults is so important.

If you or a loved one is living with adult congenital heart disease, I urge you to seek regular follow-up care. Learn more about the ACHD Program or make an appointment by calling (414) 266-6784.

Michael Earing, MD~ Michael Earing, MD, program director of ACHD Program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and associate professor of Adult Cardiovascular Medicine and Pediatric Cardiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin

The ACHD program at Children’s Hospital is the largest program of its kind in the state. Three of the less than 40 physicians nationwide trained to care for this population are physicians in the ACHD Program. Our surgeons are the only board-certified congenital heart disease surgeons in the state.


For adults with congenital heart disease, Herma Heart Center is the best place for specialized care — 4 Comments

  1. That sounds like a high number living in Wisconsin Dr. Earing, is there a reason for that? It’s great to know so many children now can survive with it.

  2. Thanks for your comments and question. Congenital heart disease is one of the many success stories in modern medicine. Prior to surgery in 1950’s, 90 percent of children with a heart defect died before reaching adulthood. Now the opposite is true with 90 percent of babies born with a heart defect survive to adulthood. What an amazing turn around!!!!! This explains why there are 15,000 adults with CHD living our state.

  3. Dr. Eating when kids see a Pediatric Cardiologist at the Herma Heart Center what age do they usually become part of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program? Like Lisa said before it is great to hear so many children are living adulthood!

  4. Dear Emily,

    Thank you for your question. In general, the majority of patients are transitioned to the Adult Congenital Heart Disease program between 18-25 years of age.

    Transitioning from adolescence to adulthood is a challenge for many teenagers. This can be even harder if you have heart disease. The ACHD program allows all patients the opportunity to learn about multiple adult topics to help with this transition including discussions about birth control, pregnancy, appropriate exercise, career choices, insurance and future health issues.