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Longitudinal development of psychopathology and subjective health status in CHD adults: a 30- to 43-year follow-up in a unique cohort

  • Petra Opić (a1), Jolien W. Roos-Hesselink (a1), Judith A. A. C. Cuypers (a1), Maarten Witsenburg (a1), Annemien van den Bosch (a1), Ron T. van Domburg (a1), Ad J. J. C. Bogers (a2) and Elisabeth M. W. J. Utens (a3)...



To determine longitudinal changes in psychopathology in a cohort of patients 30–43 years after their first cardiac surgery for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) in childhood, to compare outcomes of the 30- to 43-year follow-up with normative data, and to identify medical predictors for psychopathology.


This study is the third follow-up of this cohort. The first and second follow-ups of this same cohort were conducted in 1990 and 2001, respectively. At all three follow-ups, psychopathology was assessed with standardised, parallel questionnaires. In 2011, subjective health status was assessed by the Short Form-36. Medical predictor variables were derived from medical examinations and medical records.


In this third follow-up, a total of 252 patients participated. Of these, 152 patients participated in all three follow-ups. Over a 30-year period, proportions of patients showing psychopathology decreased significantly.

At the 30- to 43-year follow-up, overall outcomes on psychopathology for the CHD sample were similar or even better compared with normative groups. Subjective health status was also better compared with normative data.

No differences were found between cardiac diagnostic groups. Medical variables that predicted the course of psychopathology over time were as follows: the scar, as judged by the patient, results of the first cardiac surgery, and the number of hospitalisations.


Over a 30-year period, psychopathology decreased in patients with CHD. Levels of psychopathology in these patients, who are now aged between 30 and 54 years, were comparable or even better than normative data.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Dr E. M. W. J. Utens, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology, Erasmus Medical Center-Sophia Children’s Hospital, P.O. Box 2060, 3000 CB Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Tel: +3110 704 020 9; Fax: +3110 703 680 3; E-mail:


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