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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Panminerva Medica 2011 June;53(2):109-27


language: English

Growing up with a congenital heart disease: neuro-cognitive, psychopathological and quality of life outcomes

Amianto F., Bergui G. C., Abbate-Daga G., Bellicanta A., Munno D., Fassino S.

Department of Neurosciences, Psychiatry Section, Service for Eating Disorders, Turin University,, Turin, Italy


About 1% of newborn presents some form of congenital heart disease (CHD). Eighty-five percent of these children, thanks to medical and surgical improvement, reaches adulthood. This open up new challenges in patients management, such as the evaluation and optimization of psychosocial functioning and quality of life of CHD subjects. The present review collects research literature regarding neurocognitive and psychopathological adjustment, and personality and quality of life of these patients, analyzing variables that may influence their development. Literature data lean towards a multifactorial process implied into an insufficient outcome of neurocognitive development in many patients. Psychopathological development seems “problematic” with the expression of behavioural disorders both externalising and internalising. But current researches don’t consent univocal and definitive conclusions. The need for interventions to improve existential outcome for CHD subjects emerges: research on genetic factors and early recognition of at risk subjects must go with the necessity for research aiming to determine protective and risk factors related to personality, environment and relational aspects entailed in the development of CHD subjects. Finally, some evidences noticed in CHD subjects psychopathological and quality of life outcomes which are even better than normal ones. These results depend on the elaboration of their disease that CHD subjects have carried on. Factors regarding mainly personality development are essential in determining these outcomes.

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