In recognition of its expertise in serving individuals with adult congenital heart disease (ACHD), a structural heart condition present at birth, Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, earned accreditation from the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) as an ACHD Accredited Comprehensive Care Center. Norton Children’s Heart Institute is the only heart program in Kentucky and Indiana to receive this accreditation.

“This is a significant achievement for the staff within Norton Children’s Heart Institute,” said Walter L. Sobczyk, M.D., ACHD/pediatric cardiologist and medical director of the ACHD program at Norton Children’s Heart Institute. “Our team of providers, nurses, pharmacists and more have an understanding and expertise in managing these complicated heart cases from childhood to adults, along with the effects of natural aging, lifestyle and other factors. The accreditation from ACHA emphasizes our expertise in caring for this unique group of people.”

Individuals with ACHD, the most common birth defect and diagnosed in 1 in 100 births, are living longer. There are 1.4 million adults in the U.S. living with one of many different types of congenital heart defects, ranging from simple to moderate and complex.

Norton Children’s Heart Institute received accreditation by meeting ACHA’s criteria, which includes medical services and personnel requirements, and going through a rigorous accreditation process, both of which were developed over a number of years through a collaboration with doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses and ACHD patients. ACHA is a nationwide organization focused on connecting patients, family members and health care providers to form a community of support and a network of specialists with knowledge of ACHD.

“There are now more adults than children in the U.S. with CHD,” said Mark Roeder, president and CEO of ACHA. “Accreditation will elevate the standard of care and have a positive impact on the futures of those living with this disease. Coordination of care is key, and this accreditation program will make care more streamlined for ACHD patients, improving their quality of life.”