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Neurocognitive impairment and quality of life are two important long-term challenges for patients with complex CHD. The impact of re-interventions during adolescence and young adulthood on neurocognition and quality of life is not well understood.
In this prospective longitudinal multi-institutional study, patients 13–30 years old with severe CHD referred for surgical or transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement were enrolled. Clinical characteristics were collected, and executive function and quality of life were assessed prior to the planned pulmonary re-intervention. These results were compared to normative data and were compared between treatment strategies.
Among 68 patients enrolled from 2016 to 2020, a nearly equal proportion were referred for surgical and transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement (53% versus 47%). Tetralogy of Fallot was the most common diagnosis (59%) and pulmonary re-intervention indications included stenosis (25%), insufficiency (40%), and mixed disease (35%). There were no substantial differences between patients referred for surgical and transcatheter therapy. Executive functioning deficits were evident in 19–31% of patients and quality of life was universally lower compared to normative sample data. However, measures of executive function and quality of life did not differ between the surgical and transcatheter patients.
In this patient group, impairments in neurocognitive function and quality of life are common and can be significant. Given similar baseline characteristics, comparing changes in neurocognitive outcomes and quality of life after surgical versus transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement will offer unique insights into how treatment approaches impact these important long-term patient outcomes.
Virtual reality has emerged as a unique educational modality for medical trainees. However, incorporation of virtual reality curricula into formal training programmes has been limited. We describe a multi-centre effort to develop, implement, and evaluate the efficacy of a virtual reality curriculum for residents participating in paediatric cardiology rotations.
A virtual reality software program (“The Stanford Virtual Heart”) was utilised. Users are placed “inside the heart” and explore non-traditional views of cardiac anatomy. Modules for six common congenital heart lesions were developed, including narrative scripts. A prospective case–control study was performed involving three large paediatric residency programmes. From July 2018 to June 2019, trainees participating in an outpatient cardiology rotation completed a 27-question, validated assessment tool. From July 2019 to February 2020, trainees completed the virtual reality curriculum and assessment tool during their cardiology rotation. Qualitative feedback on the virtual reality experience was also gathered. Intervention and control group performances were compared using univariate analyses.
There were 80 trainees in the control group and 52 in the intervention group. Trainees in the intervention group achieved higher scores on the assessment (20.4 ± 2.9 versus 18.8 ± 3.8 out of 27 questions answered correctly, p = 0.01). Further analysis showed significant improvement in the intervention group for questions specifically testing visuospatial concepts. In total, 100% of users recommended integration of the programme into the residency curriculum.
Virtual reality is an effective and well-received adjunct to clinical curricula for residents participating in paediatric cardiology rotations. Our results support continued virtual reality use and expansion to include other trainees.
Amongst patients with CHD, the time of transition to adulthood is associated with lapses in care leading to significant morbidity. The purpose of this study was to identify differences in perceptions between parents and teens in regard to transition readiness.
Responses were collected from 175 teen–parent pairs via the validated CHD Transition Readiness survey and an information request checklist. The survey was distributed via an electronic tablet at a routine clinic visit.
Parents reported a perceived knowledge gap of 29.2% (the percentage of survey items in which a parent believes their teen does not know), compared to teens self-reporting an average of 25.9% of survey items in which they feel deficient (p = 0.01). Agreement was lowest for long-term medical needs, physical activities allowed, insurance, and education. In regard to self-management behaviours, agreement between parent and teen was slight to moderate (weighted κ statistic = 0.18 to 0.51). For self-efficacy, agreement ranged from slight to fair (weighted κ = 0.16 to 0.28). Teens were more likely to request information than their parents (79% versus 65% requesting at least one item) particularly in regard to pregnancy/contraception and insurance.
Parents and teens differ in several key perceptions regarding knowledge, behaviours, and feelings related to the management of heart disease. Specifically, parents perceive a higher knowledge deficit, teens perceive higher self-efficacy, and parents and teens agree that self-management is low.
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