Clinical Focus

  • Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Academic Appointments

Professional Education

  • Fellowship:University of Chicago Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency (2010) IL
  • Residency:University of Chicago Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency (2006) IL
  • Board Certification: Adult Congenital Heart Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine (2017)
  • Medical Education:Rosalind Franklin University The Chicago Medical School (2002) IL
  • Board Certification: Cardiovascular Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine (2011)
  • Fellowship:Boston Children's Hospital (2013) MA
  • Fellowship:Boston Children's Hospital (2012) MA


All Publications

  • Substantial Cardiovascular Morbidity in Adults With Lower-Complexity Congenital Heart Disease CIRCULATION Saha, P., Potiny, P., Rigdon, J., Morello, M., Tcheandjieu, C., Romfh, A., Fernandes, S. M., McElhinney, D. B., Bernstein, D., Lui, G. K., Shaw, G. M., Ingelsson, E., Priest, J. R. 2019; 139 (16): 1889–99
  • Substantial Cardiovascular Morbidity in Adults with Lower-Complexity Congenital Heart Disease. Circulation Saha, P., Potiny, P., Rigdon, J., Morello, M., Tcheandjieu, C., Romfh, A., Fernandes, S. M., McElhinney, D. B., Bernstein, D., Lui, G. K., Shaw, G. M., Ingelsson, E., Priest, J. R. 2019


    BACKGROUND: Although lower-complexity cardiac malformations constitute the majority of adult congenital heart disease (ACHD), the long-term risks of adverse cardiovascular events and relationship with conventional risk factors in this population are poorly understood. We aimed to quantify the risk of adverse cardiovascular events associated with lower-complexity ACHD that is unmeasured by conventional risk factors.METHODS: A multi-tiered classification algorithm was used to select individuals with lower-complexity ACHD and individuals without ACHD for comparison amongst >500,000 British adults in the UK Biobank (UKB). ACHD diagnoses were sub-classified as "isolated aortic valve (AoV)" and "non-complex" defects. Time-to-event analyses were conducted for primary endpoints of fatal or non-fatal acute coronary syndrome (ACS), ischemic stroke, heart failure (HF), and atrial fibrillation, and a secondary combined endpoint for major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE). Maximum follow-up time for the study period was 22 years using retrospectively and prospectively collected data from the UKB.RESULTS: We identified 2,006 individuals with lower-complexity ACHD and 497,983 unexposed individuals in the UKB (median [IQR] age at enrollment 58 [51,63]). Of the ACHD-exposed group, 59% were male; 51% were current or former smokers; 30% were obese; 69%, 41%, and 7% were diagnosed or treated for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes respectively. After adjustment for 12 measured cardiovascular risk factors, ACHD remained strongly associated with the primary endpoints, with hazard ratios (HR) ranging from 2.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.5-2.8, p<0.001) for ACS to 13.0 (95% CI 9.4-18.1, p<0.001) for HF. ACHD-exposed individuals with ≤2 cardiovascular risk factors had a 29% age-adjusted incidence rate of MACE in contrast to 13% in non-ACHD individuals with ≥5 risk factors.CONCLUSIONS: Individuals with lower-complexity ACHD had higher burden of adverse cardiovascular events relative to the general population that was unaccounted for by conventional cardiovascular risk factors. These findings highlight the need for closer surveillance of patients with mild to moderate ACHD and further investigation into management and mechanisms of cardiovascular risk unique to this growing population of high-risk adults.

    View details for PubMedID 30813762

  • Extended cardiac ambulatory rhythm monitoring in adults with congenital heart disease: Arrhythmia detection and impact of extended monitoring. Congenital heart disease Schultz, K. E., Lui, G. K., McElhinney, D. B., Long, J., Balasubramanian, V., Sakarovitch, C., Fernandes, S. M., Dubin, A. M., Rogers, I. S., Romfh, A. W., Motonaga, K. S., Viswanathan, M. N., Ceresnak, S. R. 2019


    BACKGROUND: Arrhythmias are a leading cause of death in adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD). While 24-48-hour monitors are often used to assess arrhythmia burden, extended continuous ambulatory rhythm monitors (ECAM) can record 2 weeks of data. The utility of this device and the arrhythmia burden identified beyond 48-hour monitoring have not been evaluated in the ACHD population. Additionally, the impact of ECAM has not been studied to determine management recommendations.OBJECTIVE: To address the preliminary question, we hypothesized that clinically significant arrhythmias would be detected on ECAM beyond 48hours and this would lead to clinical management changes.METHODS: A single center retrospective cohort study of ACHD patients undergoing ECAM from June 2013 to May 2016 was performed. The number and type of arrhythmias detected within and beyond the first 48hours of monitoring were compared using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional hazard models.RESULTS: Three hundred fourteen patients had monitors performed [median age 31 (IQR 25-41) years, 61% female). Significant arrhythmias were identified in 156 patients (50%), of which 46% were noted within 48 hours. A management change based on an arrhythmia was made in 49 patients (16%).CONCLUSIONS: ECAM detects more clinically significant arrhythmias than standard 48-hour monitoring in ACHD patients. Management changes, including medication changes, further testing or imaging, and procedures, were made based on results of ECAM. Recommendations and guidelines have been made based on arrhythmias on 48-hour monitoring; the predictive ability and clinical consequence of arrhythmias found on ECAM are not yet known.

    View details for PubMedID 30604934

  • Risk Estimates for Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in Adults With Congenital Heart Disease AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CARDIOLOGY Lui, G. K., Rogers, I. S., Ding, V. Y., Hedlin, H. K., MacMillen, K., Maron, D. J., Sillman, C., Romfh, A., Dade, T. C., Haeffele, C., Grady, S. R., McElhinney, D. B., Murphy, D. J., Fernandes, S. M. 2017; 119 (1): 112-118


    The adult with congenital heart disease (CHD) is at risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). We performed a cross-sectional study to describe established ASCVD risk factors and estimate 10-year and lifetime risk of ASCVD in adults over age 18 with CHD of moderate or great complexity using 3 validated risk assessment tools-the Framingham Study Cardiovascular Disease Risk Assessment, the Reynolds Risk Score, and the ASCVD Risk Estimator. We obtained extensive clinical and survey data on 178 enrolled patients, with average age 37.1 ± 12.6 years, 51% men. At least 1 modifiable ASCVD risk factor was present in 70%; the 2 most common were overweight/obesity (53%) and systemic hypertension (24%). Laboratory data were available in 103 of the 178 patients. Abnormal levels of glycated hemoglobin, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and high-density lipoprotein were each found in around 30% of patients. The 10-year ASCVD predicted risk using all 3 tools was relatively low (i.e., at least 90% of patients <10% risk), yet the median estimated lifetime risk was 36%. In conclusion, ASCVD risk factors are prevalent in adults with CHD. The risk estimation tools suggest that this population is particularly vulnerable to ASCVD with aging and should undergo guideline-based screening and management of modifiable risk factors.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.09.023

    View details for PubMedID 28247847

  • Incidence, risk factors, and outcomes of acute kidney injury in adults undergoing surgery for congenital heart disease. Cardiology in the young Kwiatkowski, D. M., Price, E., Axelrod, D. M., Romfh, A. W., Han, B. S., Sutherland, S. M., Krawczeski, C. D. 2016: 1-8


    Acute kidney injury after cardiac surgery is a frequent and serious complication among children with congenital heart disease (CHD) and adults with acquired heart disease; however, the significance of kidney injury in adults after congenital heart surgery is unknown. The primary objective of this study was to determine the incidence of acute kidney injury after surgery for adult CHD. Secondary objectives included determination of risk factors and associations with clinical outcomes.This single-centre, retrospective cohort study was performed in a quaternary cardiovascular ICU in a paediatric hospital including all consecutive patients ⩾18 years between 2010 and 2013.Data from 118 patients with a median age of 29 years undergoing cardiac surgery were analysed. Using Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcome creatinine criteria, 36% of patients developed kidney injury, with 5% being moderate to severe (stage 2/3). Among higher-complexity surgeries, incidence was 59%. Age ⩾35 years, preoperative left ventricular dysfunction, preoperative arrhythmia, longer bypass time, higher Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery-1 category, and perioperative vancomycin use were significant risk factors for kidney injury development. In multivariable analysis, age ⩾35 years and vancomycin use were significant predictors. Those with kidney injury were more likely to have prolonged duration of mechanical ventilation and cardiovascular ICU stay in the univariable regression analysis.We demonstrated that acute kidney injury is a frequent complication in adults after surgery for CHD and is associated with poor outcomes. Risk factors for development were identified but largely not modifiable. Further investigation within this cohort is necessary to better understand the problem of kidney injury.

    View details for PubMedID 27869053

  • Quality of Life of Adults With Congenital Heart Disease in 15 Countries Evaluating Country-Specific Characteristics JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY Apers, S., Kovacs, A. H., Luyckx, K., Thomet, C., Budts, W., Enomoto, J., Sluman, M. A., Wang, J., Jackson, J. L., Khairy, P., Cook, S. C., Chidambarathanu, S., Alday, L., Eriksen, K., Dellborg, M., Berghammer, M., Mattsson, E., Mackie, A. S., Menahem, S., Caruana, M., Veldtman, G., Soufi, A., Romfh, A. W., White, K., Callus, E., Kutty, S., Fieuws, S., Moons, P. 2016; 67 (19): 2237-2245


    Measuring quality of life (QOL) is fundamental to understanding the impact of disease and treatment on patients' lives.This study aimed to explore QOL in an international sample of adults with congenital heart disease (CHD), the association between patient characteristics and QOL, and international variation in QOL and its relationship to country-specific characteristics.We enrolled 4,028 adults with CHD from 15 countries. QOL was assessed using a linear analog scale (LAS) (0 to 100) and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) (5 to 35). Patient characteristics included sex, age, marital status, educational level, employment status, CHD complexity, and patient-reported New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class. Country-specific characteristics included general happiness and 6 cultural dimensions. Linear mixed models were applied.Median QOL was 80 on the LAS and 27 on the SWLS. Older age, lack of employment, no marriage history, and worse NYHA functional class were associated with lower QOL (p < 0.001). Patients from Australia had the highest QOL (LAS: 82) and patients from Japan the lowest (LAS: 72). Happiness scores and cultural dimensions were not associated with variation in QOL after adjustment for patient characteristics and explained only an additional 0.1% of the variance above and beyond patient characteristics (p = 0.56).This large-scale, international study found that overall QOL in adults with CHD was generally good. Variation in QOL was related to patient characteristics but not country-specific characteristics. Hence, patients at risk for poorer QOL can be identified using uniform criteria. General principles for designing interventions to improve QOL can be developed.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jacc.2016.03.477

    View details for Web of Science ID 000375406600007

    View details for PubMedID 27173035