Cribbs was recruited to UAB by Sumanth Prabhu, M.D., director of the Division of Cardiovascular Disease.
“Given the interventional and surgical innovations for the treatment of congenital heart disease over the years, the number of adult patients with congenital heart conditions that require ongoing follow-up care has increased dramatically in Alabama,” Prabhu says. “However, this need has not been matched by a commensurate number of adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) cardiologists who can provide more specialized care for these patients. We are very pleased that Dr. Cribbs, as director of the ACHD program in our division, will help fill this need and improve care for the many adult patients in our state and beyond with congenital heart conditions.”
Cribbs will work in conjunction with Edward Colvin, M.D., and the Division of Pediatric Cardiology to ensure a smooth transition of patients into adult congenital care. Cribbs will be part of a multidisciplinary team that will draw from the expertise of advanced cardiac imaging experts and multiple divisions and sections within UAB including Cardiovascular Surgery, Interventional Cardiology, Electrophysiology, Cardiac Anesthesiology and Maternal/Fetal Medicine.
“It is a tremendous honor and opportunity to join such an incredibly talented team,” Cribbs said. “The development of the Alabama Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program is vital, as many patients never transition to an adult program after they age out of pediatric care.”
It is estimated that nearly 60 percent of patients born with a congenital heart condition are lost to follow-up once they reach adulthood.
“This puts them at risk for the development of significant cardiac symptoms that may have been avoided had their care been uninterrupted,” Cribbs said.
If care is interrupted, long-term medical issues can include heart failure, arrhythmia, fatigue, syncope and sudden death. Acquired heart disease (i.e. coronary artery disease) is also more common in the adult congenital population.
Cribbs, who completed his ACHD fellowship at The Ohio State University, will strive to develop the Alabama Congenital Heart Disease Program in partnership with local cardiologists and primary care physicians around the state. He plans introductory visits to clinics in surrounding cities to explain UAB’s vision for the care of the adult congenital population. With his primary clinic at The Kirklin Clinic, Cribbs will also establish outreach clinics as a convenience and cost-saving measure for patients.