Meet Dr. Beth Brickner
Adult Congenital Heart Disease Specialist
- Holder of the:
- Charles B. Mullins, M.D. Professorship in Clinical Practice and Teaching in Cardiology
Beth Brickner, M.D., Co-Director of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program, loves deciphering the unique heart anatomies of her patients.
A skilled clinical cardiologist with advanced training in echocardiography, Dr. Brickner is an expert at interpreting images of human hearts that did not form the way "normal" hearts do.
Like fingerprints, no two hearts with congenital abnormalities are the same. That’s why Dr. Brickner and her colleagues craft blueprints of her patients’ hearts before deciding the best course of care. She determines where each component of the heart is connected, and how the blood moves within the structure.
Many adult congenital heart disease patients and their doctors mistakenly believe surgical interventions they received in childhood were a cure.
"The reality is that congenital heart disease is a lifelong disease," Dr. Brickner says. "It is not something people grow out of because they had one or more surgeries in childhood."
Depending on the treatments they received as children, adult congenital heart disease patients can be at risk for arrhythmias, heart failure, or sudden death if they are not monitored over time.
According to Dr. Brickner, patients with congenital heart disease who have survived into adulthood may not have a clear understanding of their defect or their risk for future problems. That’s why it is so important to monitor congenital heart disease patients throughout childhood and then transition them to a skilled adult congenital heart disease clinic as they get older.
"We have wonderful collaborative relationships with adult and pediatric care teams across our affiliated centers," Dr. Brickner says. "This allows patients to get the best surgery for their defect by the most experienced surgeon at the institution that's right for them."