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Parental preference for one-stage versus two-stage surgical repair for children with congenital heart disease

  • Ruey-Kang R. Chang (a1) and James J. Joyce (a2)


Background: Little is known regarding parental preference for a one-stage complete repair versus a two-staged approach with initial palliation, followed by repair, of the congenital cardiac malformation. Methods: We interviewed 103 parents of healthy children referred to a clinic for pediatric cardiology. Participants were presented with a hypothetical scenario in which their children had a cardiac lesion requiring surgery. The surgery could be performed either by means of one-stage complete repair, or using a two-stage approach, with palliation first followed by complete repair a year later. The mortality rate for the one-stage repair was set at 5%. Participants were asked to choose between the one- and two-stage approaches, with differing mortality rates for the two-stage approach. The scenarios included options when the two-stage combined mortality rate was lower than the one-stage mortality, and the first stage mortality rate was at 1% and 3%, and when the two-stage combined mortality rate was the same as that for one-stage mortality, these being set at 1% and 3%. Results: When the two-stage combined mortality rate was lower than that of the one-stage repair, participants were more likely to choose the two-stage approach if the first stage mortality rate was 1% as compared to 3% (57% and 44%, respectively, p = 0.04). When the two-stage combined mortality rate was the same as the one-stage approach, participants choosing the two-stage approach when the mortality rate was set at 1%, and when it was raised to 3%, were not significantly different (42% and 34%, respectively, p = 0.24). When the combined two-stage mortality was the same as that set for one-stage repair, participants with no insurance were less likely to choose the two-stage approach than those covered by insurance (p = 0.03). Conclusions: In the chosen scenarios, when the mortality for a two-stage combined approach is the same as that for one-staged repair, more parents choose the one-staged repair. If the two-stage combined mortality is lower than that for one-staged repair, parents are more likely to choose the two-stage repair if the mortality for the first stage is lower. When the mortality rates for the one-stage and two-stage approaches are the same, people without insurance are more likely to choose one-staged repair.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Ruey-Kang R. Chang, MD, MPH, Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, UCLA Medical Center, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90509. Tel: 310 825 5296; Fax: 310 825 9524; E-mail:


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