There are now more young adults than children with congenital heart disease (inborn heart abnormalities) with the population continuing to grow in number and complexity.
At the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA), we run one of the largest Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinics in the country, addressing medical issues such as this. Our work with these young adults has focused on rarely studied conditions such as Ebstein’s anomaly of the heart, congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries, and dextrocardia (the unusual situation where the heart lies on the right side of the chest rather than the left).
We have also collaborated with the Department of Radiology at RPA to make important discoveries about a condition called non-compaction of the heart, where the heart is not assembled efficiently, resulting in ‘spongy’ rather than well-compacted muscle. We have discovered a new diagnostic tool to detect this using MRI of the heart, and have also defined its prevalence in young adults with congenital heart disease, as well as its functional consequences.