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Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs in parents of infants with CHD, contributing to psychological distress with detrimental effects on family functioning and well-being. We sought to determine the prevalence and factors associated with post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in parents whose infants underwent staged palliation for single ventricle heart disease.
Materials and methods:
A large longitudinal multi-centre cohort study evaluated 215 mothers and fathers for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder at three timepoints, including post-Norwood, post-Stage II, and a final study timepoint when the child reached approximately 16 months of age, using the self-report questionnaire Impact of Event Scale – Revised.
The prevalence of probable post-traumatic stress disorder post-Norwood surgery was 50% of mothers and 39% of fathers, decreasing to 27% of mothers and 24% of fathers by final follow-up. Intrusive symptoms such as flashbacks and nightmares and hyperarousal symptoms such as poor concentration, irritability, and sudden physical symptoms of racing heart and difficulty breathing were particularly elevated in parents. Higher levels of anxiety, reduced coping, and decreased satisfaction with parenting were significantly associated with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in parents. Demographic and clinical variables such as parent education, pre-natal diagnosis, medical complications, and length of hospital stay(s) were not significantly associated with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Parents whose infants underwent staged palliation for single ventricle heart disease often reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms persisted over time and routine screening might help identify parents at-risk and prompt referral to appropriate supports.
Using existing data from clinical registries to support clinical trials and other prospective studies has the potential to improve research efficiency. However, little has been reported about staff experiences and lessons learned from implementation of this method in pediatric cardiology.
We describe the process of using existing registry data in the Pediatric Heart Network Residual Lesion Score Study, report stakeholders’ perspectives, and provide recommendations to guide future studies using this methodology.
The Residual Lesion Score Study, a 17-site prospective, observational study, piloted the use of existing local surgical registry data (collected for submission to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons-Congenital Heart Surgery Database) to supplement manual data collection. A survey regarding processes and perceptions was administered to study site and data coordinating center staff.
Survey response rate was 98% (54/55). Overall, 57% perceived that using registry data saved research staff time in the current study, and 74% perceived that it would save time in future studies; 55% noted significant upfront time in developing a methodology for extracting registry data. Survey recommendations included simplifying data extraction processes and tailoring to the needs of the study, understanding registry characteristics to maximise data quality and security, and involving all stakeholders in design and implementation processes.
Use of existing registry data was perceived to save time and promote efficiency. Consideration must be given to the upfront investment of time and resources needed. Ongoing efforts focussed on automating and centralising data management may aid in further optimising this methodology for future studies.
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