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Potentially fatal arrhythmias add to the mental health challenges of adolescence. This systematic review sought to summarise current knowledge regarding the mental health of adolescents and pre-adolescents diagnosed with inherited arrhythmia syndromes. Searches combining psychological problems with inherited cardiac arrhythmia diagnoses identified 16 studies with paediatric (<18 years) inherited arrhythmia patients. All studies were cross-sectional; 8/16 required an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Methods were quantitative (n=11), qualitative (n=4), or mixed (n=1), with 14–100% of participants having an inherited arrhythmia syndrome. Mean/median age in 13/16 studies was 12–16 years. Patients and parents reported lower quality of life, particularly in relation to physical function, social relationships, restriction of peer activities, bodily pain, and mental and emotional health. Self-perceptions and behaviour were similar to healthy populations. Rates of anxiety and depression (15–33% of these patients) were not increased in these studies where patients were assessed 2+ years after diagnosis. Higher mental health risk occurred among patients who have a diagnosed sibling, those with cardiomyopathy, and those who report decreased quality of life. Mental health research among youth with inherited arrhythmias is extremely limited and of low quality. Data, primarily from patients 2–4 years after diagnosis or treatment with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, indicate that quality of life may be decreased and 15–33% experience mental health issues. Future research is required to examine the mental health and quality of life of paediatric patients with inherited arrhythmia syndromes, whether or not they have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, from time of diagnosis.
Psychosocial health issues are common among children with cardiac diagnoses. Understanding parent and child perceptions is important because parents are the primary health information source. Significant discrepancies have been documented between parent/child quality-of-life data but have not been examined among psychosocial diagnostic instruments. This study examined agreement and discrepancies between parent and child reports of psychosocial health and quality of life in the paediatric cardiology population. Children (n=50, 6–14 years) with diagnoses of CHDs (n=38), arrhythmia (n=5), cardiomyopathy (n=4), or infectious disease affecting the heart (n=3) were enrolled, completing one or more outcome measures. Children and their parents completed self-reports and parent proxy reports of quality of life – Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory – and psychosocial health – Behavioral Assessment Scale for Children (Version 2). Patients also completed the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children. Associations (Pearson’s correlations, Intraclass Correlation Coefficients) and differences (Student’s t-tests) between parent proxy reports and child self-reports were evaluated. Moderate parent–child correlations were found for physical (R=0.33, p=0.03), school (R=0.43, p<0.01), social (R=0.36, p=0.02), and overall psychosocial (R=0.43, p<0.01) quality of life. Parent–child reports of externalising behaviour problems, for example aggression, were strongly correlated (R=0.70, p<0.01). No significant parent–child associations were found for emotional quality of life (R=0.25, p=0.10), internalising problems (R=0.17, p=0.56), personal adjustment/adaptation skills (R=0.23, p=0.42), or anxiety (R=0.07, p=0.72). Our data suggest that clinicians caring for paediatric cardiac patients should assess both parent and child perspectives, particularly in relation to domains such as anxiety and emotional quality of life, which are more difficult to observe.
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