Neurodevelopmental outcomes in school-age children and adolescents with congenital heart disease


Advocate Children's Hospital, Oak Lawn


This review explores risk factors leading to adverse neurodevelopmental sequelae in patients with congenital heart disease (CHD), describes different forms of neurodevelopmental morbidity seen in school-age children and adolescents with CHD, and discusses practice implications for pediatric nurses caring for them. PubMed and Google Scholar were the primary search engines used for the literature search. One textbook chapter and 25 articles from peer-reviewed journals were selected according to relevance and recency, with a focus on studies published in 2016 or later. Data exploring negative neurodevelopmental sequelae in the domains of cognitive ability, motor function, executive functioning, and psychiatric health in pediatric patients with CHD were abstracted. Survivors of CHD may experience a variety of neurodevelopmental challenges due to abnormalities in blood flow during the fetal and neonatal period, complications in the operating room or during postoperative recovery, and biological and family-related risk factors. School-age children and adolescents with CHD may display deficits in cognitive, motor, and executive function. Higher rates of psychiatric disorders have also been identified in this population. Pediatric nurses caring for children with CHD are an integral part of the care team, helping manage various aspects of care, such as surveillance and care coordination, psychosocial care, and patientfamily education. Pediatric nurses have an important role in recognizing these challenges and providing patients with CHD the support and resources they need to attain optimal outcomes.

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