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Cardiac rehabilitation programmes for paediatric patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) have been shown to promote emotional and physical health without any associated adverse events. While prior studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of these types of interventions, there has been limited research into how the inclusion of psychological interventions as part of the programme impacts parent-reported and patient-reported quality of life.
Materials and methods:
Patients between the ages of 7 and 24 years with CHD completed a cardiac rehabilitation programme that followed a flexible structure of four in person-visits with various multidisciplinary team members, including paediatric psychologists. Changes in scores from the earliest to the latest session were assessed regarding exercise capacity, patient functioning (social, emotional, school, psychosocial), patient general and cardiac-related quality of life, patient self-concept, and patient behavioural/emotional problems.
From their baseline to final session, patients exhibited significant improvement in exercise capacity (p = 0.00009). Parents reported improvement in the patient’s emotional functioning, social functioning, school functioning, psychosocial functioning, cognitive functioning, communication, and overall quality of life. While patients did not report improvement in these above areas, they did report perceived improvement in certain aspects of cardiac-related quality of life and self-concept.
This paediatric cardiac rehabilitation programme, which included regular consultations with paediatric psychologists, was associated with divergent perceptions by parents and patients on improvement related to quality of life and other aspects of functioning despite improvement in exercise capacity. Further investigation is recommended to identify underlying factors associated with the differing perceptions of parents and patients.
Cardiopulmonary exercise testing has been used to measure functional capacity in children who have undergone a heart transplant. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing results have not been compared between children transplanted for a primary diagnosis of CHD and those with a primary diagnosis of cardiomyopathy despite differences in outcomes. This study is aimed to compare cardiopulmonary exercise testing performance between these two groups.
Patients who underwent heart transplant with subsequent cardiopulmonary exercise testing at least 6 months after transplant at our institution were identified. They were then divided into two groups based on primary cardiac diagnosis: CHD or cardiomyopathy. Patient characteristics, echocardiograms, cardiac catheterisations, outcomes, and cardiopulmonary exercise test results were compared between the two groups.
From the total of 35 patients, 15 (43%) had CHD and 20 (57%) had cardiomyopathy. Age at transplant, kidney disease, lung disease, previous rejection, coronary vasculopathy, catheterisation, and echocardiographic data were similar between the groups. Mean time from transplant to cardiopulmonary exercise testing, exercise duration, and maximum oxygen consumption were similar in both groups. There was a difference in heart rate response with CHD heart rate response of 63 beats per minute compared to cardiomyopathy group of 78 (p = 0.028). Patients with CHD had more chronotropic incompetence than those with cardiomyopathy (p = 0.036).
Primary diagnosis of CHD is associated with abnormal heart rate response and more chronotropic incompetence compared to those transplanted for cardiomyopathy.
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