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Quality of life in young people with congenital heart disease is better than expected

Abstract

Objectives Improved treatments for patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) have led to a growing interest in long-term functional outcomes such as health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Studies on HRQoL in children with CHD have contradicting results. Therefore, we compared HRQoL of children with CHD with that of current healthy peers and stratify CHD cases by severity and diagnostic subgroups.

Methods We included 514 patients (191 girls) aged 7–17 (12.9±3.1) years who were recruited at our institution between July 2014 and May 2017. The self-reported and age-adapted KINDL questionnaire was used to assess HRQoL. Patient data were compared with that of a recent control group of 734 healthy children (346 girls, 13.4±2.1 years).

Results Patients with CHD scored at least as high as healthy peers in HRQoL (CHD: 78.6±9.8; healthy: 75.6±10.1; P<0.001). After correction for sex and age, patients with CHD presented a 2.3-point higher HRQoL (P<0.001). The sex-specific and age-specific analyses showed that there were no differences between boys with and without CHD in childhood (P=0.255), but in adolescence, boys with CHD had on average 3.9-point higher scores (P=0.001), whereas girls with CHD had statistically higher HRQoL perception than healthy girls in childhood (4.2 points; P=0.003) and adolescence (4.2 points; P=0.005). There were no differences between the severity classes or diagnostic subgroups in the total HRQoL score or in the six subdomains.

Conclusion The high HRQoL in young patients with CHD suggests that they can cope well with their disease burden. This holds true for all severity classes and diagnostic subgroups.

  • Health-related quality of life
  • severity of heart defects

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