Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program

In 2012, the American Board of Medical Specialties formally recognized the field of adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) as its own subspecialty within cardiac care, distinct from both the pediatric and adult cardiology specialties. This recognition acknowledged the complexity of the field and the expertise required for the best in comprehensive care for adult patients with congenital heart disease. A sub-board certification examination, administered by the American Board of Internal Medicine, was developed and offered for the first time ever in late 2015. Our program now has the only board-certified physicians in ACHD care in San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties: James C. Perry, M.D., and Howaida El-Said, M.D., Ph.D.

Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego had nearly 1,000 outpatient visits for cardiac patients aged 18 and older in 2015. Patients from Southern California and Hawaii comprise the majority of patients seen in our program, along with patients referred from outside the region. The ACHD Program team and affiliate members provide outstanding holistic care, including all required interventional catheterization, electrophysiology, imaging and surgical procedures. Most of the program’s care is provided by experienced physicians at Rady Children’s, who are knowledgeable about the ongoing needs of adults with congenital heart disease throughout their lifetimes. Some patients have interventions in conjunction with our colleagues at UC San Diego’s Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center.

The program’s research efforts involve both clinical research studies and advocacy programs for adults with congenital heart disease; Dr. Perry was a long-term active member on the medical advisory board of the Adult Congenital Heart Association. Several innovative basic science research projects related to ACHD topics, in partnership with the UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, are funded by the National Institutes of Health and industry and are well underway.

For more information about the program and other cardiology services, contact the Cardiology Division at 858-966-5855.