Children and Adults With Congenital Heart Disease Lost to Follow-Up: Who and When?

A. S. Mackie, R. Ionescu-Ittu, J. Therrien, L. Pilote, M. Abrahamowicz, A. J. Marelli
2009 Circulation  
Background-Many patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) require lifelong care. However, the duration of cardiology follow-up in children and adults with CHD is unknown. We sought to determine the proportion of children and young adults with CHD receiving outpatient cardiology care and to identify predictors of lack of follow-up. Methods and Results-The study population consisted of individuals born in 1983 and alive at age 22 years who were diagnosed with CHD in Quebec, Canada, before 6
more » ... rs of age (nϭ643). Patients and outpatient visits were identified with the use of the provincial physician's claims database. Three age groups were examined for the presence of outpatient cardiology follow-up: 6 to 12, 13 to 17, and 18 to 22 years. CHD lesions were classified as severe (nϭ84; 13%), simple shunts (nϭ390; 61%), and "other" lesions (nϭ169; 26%). Failure to receive cardiac follow-up after the 6th, 13th, and 18th birthday occurred in 28%, 47%, and 61%, respectively. Among those with severe lesions, only 79% were seen after the 18th birthday. However, the majority of subjects visited primary care physicians in all age groups, and 93% remained in contact with the healthcare system into early adulthood. Predictors of lack of cardiology follow-up in adulthood included male sex, a nonsevere lesion, and a history of follow-up outside a university hospital setting. Conclusions-Lack of cardiology follow-up begins during childhood, even among those with severe lesions. This occurs despite patients being in contact with other healthcare providers. Improved communication with primary care physicians may reduce the proportion of patients lost to cardiac follow-up. (Circulation. 2009;120:302-309.)
doi:10.1161/circulationaha.108.839464 pmid:19597053 fatcat:bvdwr45zzbgilco2a6vrppn3om