Adult Congenital Heart Program at Stanford Offers Unusual Level of Expertise in Caring for Adults Born With Heart Defects

Congenital Heart Program
at Stanford Children’s Health and Stanford
Health Care now has seven board-certified specialists in adult
congenital heart disease, making it one of the largest groups of such
doctors in the country. The seven physicians are among the caregivers
who passed the first-ever board certification exam in their field, which
is newly recognized as a subspecialty by the American
Board of Internal Medicine
. Results for the October 2015 exam were
announced by the board in early January.

It’s a timely achievement. Although many congenital heart defects were
once fatal in childhood, dramatic improvements in surgeons’ ability to
repair such defects has increased the number of U.S. adults living with
them to more than one million. Yet a successful childhood surgical
repair does not cure most congenital heart disease patients, doctors
have learned. And congenital defects can interact with cardiovascular
problems acquired with age.

“These are patients who need ongoing monitoring and treatment to help
them navigate the risks of living with lingering heart problems,” said
cardiologist Daniel Murphy, MD, who was instrumental in advocating for
the new subspecialty to be formally recognized. The population of adults
living with heart defects they were born with is growing by about 20,000
people per year as adolescents graduate to adult care, he noted. And
such patients are seeking care at destination programs like Stanford’s.

“This new board certification exam is the result of over a decade of
really hard work by leaders in the adult congenital cardiac community,”
Murphy said. “It enforces training and knowledge standards that we think
these patients have a right to expect when they seek medical care from a

The Stanford physicians who obtained their board certification are George
Lui, MD
, the program’s medical director and a clinical assistant
professor of cardiovascular medicine and pediatric cardiology at the
Stanford University School of Medicine; Ian
Rogers, MD
, clinical assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine
and pediatric cardiology; Doff
McElhinney, MD
, professor of cardiothoracic surgery; Anne
Dubin, MD
, professor of pediatric cardiology; Kara
Motonaga, MD
, clinical assistant professor of pediatric cardiology; Scott
Ceresnak, MD
, assistant professor of pediatric cardiology; and Nikola
Tede, MD
, a pediatric cardiologist who sees patients at California
Pacific Medical Center through its alliance with Stanford Children’s

Stanford’s program, a collaboration between Lucile
Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
and Stanford
Health Care
, has a long history as a national leader in the care of
adult congenital heart patients. “This is a field which requires people
to bring a lot of different kinds of skills, experience and knowledge to
their interactions with patients,” Murphy said. “I’m really proud of our
physicians. Their success validates the training we have here and shows
that we’re on the right track for providing care for this important
group of patients.”

Related Links

* Read about Christy
Sillman, RN
, who brings extraordinary personal experience to her
work. Sillman is a nurse coordinator for the program, and has adult
congenital heart disease.

* Find out why a
61-year-old man received heart surgery
at Lucile Packard Children’s
Hospital Stanford

About Stanford Children’s Health and Lucile
Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

Stanford Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital
Stanford at its core, is the largest Bay Area health care enterprise
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Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
Robert Dicks,