Congenital heart disease affects one in 120 babies born in the U.S., so it’s more common than most parents think. In fact, heart defects are the most common birth defects. Thanks to new and better treatment options, chance of surviving is better, with the right care.

A common birth defect

Congenital heart disease (CHD) refers to a cardiac problem that exists from birth, and early diagnosis – often in the fetal stage – is very important. CHD covers a range of conditions including heart valve defects and cardiovascular abnormalities, and about eight out of 1,000 newborns have a form of it. What’s more, almost 30% of infant deaths from birth defects are due to CHD. When tests are positive for a fetal heart defect, pediatric heart surgeons stand by at birth to provide any needed medical help. And, thanks to recent advances in early diagnosis and treatment, many children can and do live healthy lives into adulthood. But CHD is a lifelong condition that requires regular monitoring.

Specialized expertise, from womb to adulthood

New guidelines for CHD patient care state that adults with moderate or complex CHD should receive cardiac care from an adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) cardiologist. For many patients, this means that as they grow to adulthood, they will need to find a new specialist to oversee their care.

But not so for Central Floridians, because AdventHealth for Children recently launched the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic to provide these patients specialized care by a clinical team trained in both congenital heart defects and adult cardiology. Its specialists include one of the country’s few pediatric cardiologists with advanced training in ACHD – Dr. David Briston – and its establishment means that patients can now receive continuous heart care throughout their lifetime, without having to leave their community to do it.

David Briston, MD, MS,

David Briston, MD, MS,

is a board-certified pediatric cardiologist with AdventHealth for Children. He is one of only a few dozen cardiologists in the entire country to have completed the two-year fellowship in adult congenital heart disease and the only such physician in Florida. He sees patients at his office on Wickham Road in Melbourne as well as offices in Celebration, Orlando and Winter Garden.

Melbourne location: 6609 North Wickham Road, Suite 104
For appointments call: (407) 303-2001