AIMS: Since knowledge about the psychosocial function of adult patients with congenital heart disease is limited, we compared biographical characteristics, and emotional and social functioning of these patients with that of the reference groups. METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients with congenital heart disease (N=362, aged 20-46 years), belonging to five diagnostic groups, were subjected to extensive medical and psychological examination, 20-33 years after their first open heart surgery. All the patients were seen by the same psychologist, who examined their psychosocial functioning using a structured interview and questionnaires. The majority (78%)was living independently and showed favourable outcome regarding the marital status. Among married/cohabitant patients, 25-39-year-olds showed normal offspring rates. None of the 20-24-year-old patients had any children. The offspring rate dropped after the age of 40. The proportion of adult patients with a history of special education was high (27%). Accordingly, patients showed lower educational and occupational levels compared to reference groups. As regard to the emotional and social functioning (leisure-time activities), the sample showed favourable results. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, this sample of patients with congenital heart disease seemed capable of leading normal lives and seemed motivated to make good use of their abilities.

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European Heart Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Utens, E., Roos-Hesselink, J., Meijboom, F., Bogers, A., Verhulst, F., Roelandt, J., … van Domburg, R. (2003). Psychosocial functioning of the adult with congenital heart disease: a 20-33 years follow-up. European Heart Journal, 24(7), 673–683. doi:10.1016/S0195-668X(02)00749-2