Background: Children and adolescents operated upon for congenital heart disease (ConHD) may show reduced exercise capacity and physical activity, possibly associated with lowered self-esteem and quality of life (QoL). The studies into associations between these parameters have not been reviewed before.Objective: Review of studies into associations between exercise capacity, physical activity, respectively exercise training, and psychosocial functioning of ConHD youngsters.Data sources: PubMed, Embase and reference lists of related articles.Study selection: Articles published between January 2000 and December 2012 into exercise capacity and/or physical activity, and a measure of psychosocial functioning in children with ConHD.Data extraction: Two investigators independently reviewed the identified articles for eligibility, and one author extracted the data.Results: Although exercise capacity was strongly related to physical domains of parent-reported and self-reported QoL, it was almost never associated with psychosocial domains of QoL. Physical activity was rarely associated with physical or psychosocial domains of QoL. Remarkably, self-reported depressive symptoms were associated with both physical and psychosocial QoL. The few studies into exercise-training programmes showed promising results in QoL and emotional and behavioral problems, but they contained methodological flaws.Conclusions: No clear relationships were found between exercise capacity, physical activity, and QoL in children and adolescents with ConHD. Therefore we recommend assessing QoL separately, preferably both self-reported and parentreported. Since depressive symptoms were associated with reduced physical and psychosocial QoL, screening on these symptoms is also recommended.

Additional Metadata
Keywords children, Congenital heart disease, exercise test, physical activity, quality of life
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1177/2047487313494030, hdl.handle.net/1765/91815
Journal European Journal of Preventive Cardiology
Citation
Dulfer, K, Helbing, W.A, Duppen, N, & Utens, E.M.W.J. (2014). Associations between exercise capacity, physical activity, and psychosocial functioning in children with congenital heart disease: A systematic review. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology (Vol. 21, pp. 1200–1215). doi:10.1177/2047487313494030