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Neuropsychological outcomes in CHD beyond childhood: a meta-analysis

  • Rónán Mills (a1), Christopher G. McCusker (a2), Chris Tennyson (a3) and Donncha Hanna (a4)

Abstract

Background

Risk for neurodevelopmental delay in infants and children with CHD is well established, but longer-term outcomes are equivocal. A meta-analysis was conducted to establish whether cognitive deficits remain beyond childhood – into teenage and young adult years.

Methods and results

A total of 18 unique samples, involving adolescents, teenagers, and adults with CHD significant enough to require invasive intervention, and sourced through searches of Web of Science, MEDLINE, CINAHL Plus, and PsychInfo, met the inclusion criteria. These included the use of standardised neuropsychology tests across 10 domains of cognitive functioning and the reporting of effect size differences with controls. Reports of patients with chromosomal or genetic abnormalities were excluded. Pooled effect sizes suggested no significant differences between CHD samples and controls in terms of general intellectual ability and verbal reasoning. However, small–medium effects sizes were noted (0.33–0.44) and were statistically significant within the domains of non-verbal reasoning, processing speed, attention, auditory–verbal memory, psychomotor abilities, numeracy, and literacy with executive functioning also emerging as significant when one study outlier was excluded. We also included quality assurance statistics including Cochran’s Q, T, and I2 statistics, leave-one-out analyses, and assessment of publication bias. These often suggested study variability, possibly related to the heterogeneity of diagnostic groups included, and different tests used to measure the same construct.

Conclusions

Heterogeneity indicated that moderators affect cognitive outcomes in CHD. Nevertheless, deficits across cognitive domains were discerned, which are likely to have functional impact and which should inform practice with this clinical population.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Dr C. McCusker, School of Applied Psychology, North Mall Enterprise Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. Tel: +353 21 490 4602; E-mail: Christopher.mccusker@ucc.ie

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