The statistics portray the story of a medical triumph. Babies born with a heart defect are not merely surviving, but living longer – beneficiaries of key medical advances, innovative therapies and cutting-edge treatments that have occurred over more than two decades.
"Ninety-five per cent of patients with complex congenital heart disease are surviving into adulthood," says Dr. Erwin Oecshlin, cardiologist, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC).
But along with the success story, a challenging consequence.
"There are more adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD) than children in 2016," says Dr. Oecshlin, Director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease program at PMCC, the largest of its kind in the world.
To address this knowledge gap, the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is hosting a first Education Day in ACHD, next month.
Conceived by Dr. Oecshlin and his team of medical experts in ACHD, the Education Day targets cardiologists, family physicians, trainees and allied health care professionals from healthcare centres in community settings.
"Adult congenital heart disease patients are completely different than patients with acquired heart disease. And there are errors and mistakes done by those care providers who are not familiar with this complex patient population, which is rapidly growing,"
It's estimated that there are more than 160,000 patients with adult congenital heart disease in Canada, and 65,000 in Ontario alone.
The inaugural Education Day in Adult Congenital Heart Disease takes place Friday, Oct. 14 in MaRS Discovery District.