The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the long-term health of individuals born with heart defects, announces the creation of the ACHA Actelion Fellowship Award to increase the availability of specialized congenital heart care.
The fellowship, funded by Actelion Pharmaceuticals US, Inc., will offer training awards to two institutions in the United States with a commitment to high-quality adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) care. These awards will be used to provide two years of special training for cardiologists wishing to specialize in caring for adults with CHD. Current standard cardiology training dictates residents receive only six hours of general congenital heart disease lectures and no requirement to treat a single CHD patient. However, the American Board of Medical Specialties recently created a special adult CHD pathway that will require adult CHD specialists to complete several years of adult and pediatric congenital heart training and complete a subspecialty exam.
Currently, there are more than 1.5 million adults with CHD in the United States, outnumbering child patients for the first time in history. However, as the population of adult patients has grown, the number of physicians specializing in adult CHD has lagged, leaving many adults without appropriate care.
“There is a clear gap in the access and our ability to deliver ACHD care in the United States. One of the key factors in improving care is by increasing the number of well-qualified and well-trained ACHD cardiologists. The ACHA Actelion Fellowship Award will promote the development of training programs and most importantly, require institutional commitment to ongoing training to create a sustainable model for the future,” said Dr. Curt Daniels, co-chair of the fellowship committee and director of the Columbus Ohio Adult Congenital Heart Disease and Pulmonary Hypertension Program.
“Actelion is proud to sponsor this advanced ACHD training fellowship. This brings us one step closer to providing ACHD patients with increased access to care from specialized physicians who are appropriately trained and qualified to provide them optimal management and treatment of this complex disease and its complications, such as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH),” said Kelly Lewis, Senior Director of Medical Strategy and Planning at Actelion Pharmaceuticals US, Inc.
A large proportion of patients with CHD, in particular those with relevant systemic-to-pulmonary shunts, will develop PAH if left untreated, resulting in markedly increased morbidity and mortality.