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Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are the most common congenital malformations. Patients with CHD have a higher morbidity and mortality rate and are at greater risk for infectious diseases. The risk might even be higher if complex CHD occurs and if CHD is associated with additional co-morbidities. Therefore, immunisations in these children are essential.
Materials and Methods:
Individuals were recruited at the outpatient centre of the Department of Congenital Heart Defects and Pediatric Cardiology at the German Heart Center Munich in the time between February 2016 and February 2017. Included were children between 23 months and 17 years and a diagnosis of CHD. The vaccination certificate aimed to assess the immunization status.
In total, 657 children with CHD were included and analysed. Regarding primary immunisation, only 34 % (n = 221) of the children reached the complete vaccination status within the allowed catch-up time. Among these primary immunisation rates, vaccinations against Hepatitis B, Meningococci, Varicella and Pneumococci were found to have the lowest coverage with all being below 80%. The vaccination rate was partly influenced by the previously performed number of surgeries but not by the diagnosis of specific genetic diseases. At the age of school entry, the immunisation rate in children with CHD was also lower than in the comparable healthy population.
The vaccination coverage rate in children with CHD is lower than in comparable healthy children, although this is a vulnerable patient group. Further education of parents and treating physicians of children with CHD regarding vaccination is still needed.