Congenital Heart Disease

This group focuses on the morphology and development of congenital heart disease in relation to clinical treatment strategies. Key subjects are therapy and prognostic determinants of pulmonary hypertension, right ventricular function, arrhythmias and imaging of complex anatomical variants of congenital heart disease.

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect with an estimated incidence of 6 per 1000 live born children. Due to significant improvement in surgical and percutaneous treatment techniques over the past decades, the number of grown-up patients with congenital heart disease has increased resulting in an incline of patients reaching the reproductive age. This number is expected to continue to expand in the following years. Additionally, the cardiac defects treated are progressively more complex. This increased life-span and complexity has led to a whole new spectrum of long-term complications, as well as unclear outcomes of relatively new treatment strategies. For instance, experience with grown-up patients born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, does not yet exist. In addition there is no consensus yet regarding the optimal treatment strategies for several forms of complex congenital heart disease (e.g. the indication for anticoagulant therapy, the indication of ACE inhibition in right ventricular failure and the use of beta-blockers). Both insight in the developmental background and pathomorphology of congenital heart disease as well as in the functional mechanisms contributing to the disease will optimize clinical treatment strategies.

Altogether the field of grown up congenital heart disease is rapidly expanding and data on developmental background and prognostic determinants of adverse outcomes are mandatory.

The cornerstones of the Leiden Congenital Heart Disease research group are: 1. The development and pathomorphology of CHD; 2. Pulmonary hypertension and right ventricular (dys)function and 3. Arrhythmias. The intensive support of advanced imaging techniques including HR-CT, 3D echocardiography and MRI is indispensable in each of these topics.

The research of this group is narrowly related to the other research pillars of the Leiden Heart Center and performed in close collaboration with them.