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Current guidelines recommend that patients with CHD receive age-appropriate counselling on reproduction, pregnancy, and risk of heredity. Our aim was to examine patient knowledge of reproductive health and explore the association between patient knowledge of CHD transmission risk and earlier physician counselling in adults with CHD.
We performed a cross-sectional survey of patients with CHD aged 18 years and older in a paediatric hospital.
Of the 100 patients who completed the questionnaire, most did not report counselling on heredity (66%) or contraception (71%). Of the 54 women, 25 (46%) identified their contraceptive options correctly; 42 (78%) women were classified as being at significantly increased risk for an adverse outcome during pregnancy, and of these 20 (48%) identified this risk correctly. Of all patients surveyed, 72% did not know that having CHD placed them at increased risk for having a child with CHD. On multivariate analysis, factors associated with correct knowledge about risk of recurrence were correct identification of CHD diagnosis (p=0.04) and patient-reported counselling (p=0.001).
Knowledge about heredity, pregnancy risk, and contraceptive options is inadequate among adults with CHD followed-up in a paediatric subspecialty clinic. The majority of patients did not report a history of counselling about reproductive health. There is a strong correlation between history of counselling by the patient’s cardiologist and correct knowledge about recurrence risk, suggesting that effective reproductive counselling can positively impact this knowledge gap.
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