Diagnosing Congenital Heart Disease

Sometimes, congenital heart diseases aren’t identified until adulthood. If you’ve already been diagnosed, you’ll still need to be monitored for complications, such as abnormal heartbeat, heart failure and pulmonary hypertension (a type of high blood pressure that only affects the arteries in the lungs). The team at the Emory Adult Congenital Heart Center has the diagnostic services and expertise needed to accurately diagnose and assess your condition so that we can work with you to plan the best course of action.

Adult Congenital Heart Disease: Tests and Procedures

At each visit, we’ll listen to your heart and look for symptoms, such as shortness of breath or signs of heart failure. Depending on your specific condition and its severity, you may need diagnostic tests or procedures, which might include:

Chest X-ray – Our doctors may need to see images of your heart and lungs.

Echocardiography – This test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart, to show how it’s formed and how it’s working.

Electrocardiography (ECG, EKG) – This test measures the heart's electrical activity, recording the strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through the heart.

Pulse Oximetry – This test estimates how much oxygen is in the blood, using a small sensor attached to a finger or toe.

Cardiac Catheterization – This procedure uses a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to access the heart. The catheter is inserted into a vein in the arm, thigh or neck and threaded to the heart. A special dye can then be injected to show how the blood flows through heart and blood vessels. Cardiac catheterization is also used to measure the pressure and oxygen level in the heart and blood vessels, and to repair some heart defects.

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