Adult congenital heart patients can be divided into three main groups:
- Simple congenital heart defects: These were almost completely repaired but still linger as potential problems later in life.
- Complex congenital heart disorder problems: These are often found in adults who were born with congenital heart defects that were completely repaired. They typically lead normal lives until they develop problems such as arrhythmia or heart murmurs in their 20s or 30s.
- Non-diagnosed congenital heart disorders
The numbers of South Carolina patients with congenital heart defects are increasing with advances in care. Today, about half of congenital heart disease patients are over 18 years old. Before the 1960s, most children with congenital heart problems died.
About 500 children are born with heart disease each year in South Carolina. That's about one percent of the population. About half of them have significant issues. Based on those figures, it is estimated that 5,000-8,000 adults with congenital heart disease in South Carolina need ongoing care.