Outcomes of Congenital Heart Disease: A Review

Angela Green


Pediatr Nurs. 2004;30(4) 

In This Article

Social Outcomes, Education, and Employment

In several studies, adolescents and young adults with CHD have consistently reported feeling different from their peers (Horner et al., 2000; Tong et al., 1998). Despite this, even adults with complex CHD reported "normal childhoods" and normal teen years. Nonetheless, the same subjects who reported "normal" also described feelings of social isolation and limitations in peer interactions (Horner et al., 2000). Some researchers have described this as denial (Horner et al., 2000), while others describe it as normalizing, a strategy to deal with the situation (Gantt, 2002).

In a recent U.S. study, 94% of adults with complex CHD finished high school, and 62% finished college (Horner et al., 2000). In other countries, however, academic problems have been reported in children with CHD, including delayed school attendance (35.5%) and poor academic performance (6.9%) (Samanek, 2000).

The most recent U.S. employment data on adults with CHD indicated that this group was less likely to be employed than controls, and work issues impacted QOL (Simko & McGinnis, 2003). Other researchers have reported that 89% of adults with complex CHD were working regularly, but they made no comparison to the figure for the U.S. population (Horner et al., 2000). In the Netherlands, employment in adults was comparable to employment in the general population. However, 55% of the group with complex CHD group reported at least one problem in their career related to CHD. Problems included restriction in choice of jobs (51% of respondents), exclusion post medical exam (9%), and not being promoted (3%). Less than 0.5 % of the mild CHD reported employment problems related to CHD (Kamphuis, Vogels, et al., 2002).


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