A cross-sectional study of the prevalence of psychopathology in adults with congenital heart disease

J Psychosom Res. 2002 Feb;52(2):65-8. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(01)00294-x.


Objective: Several studies have suggested high levels of psychopathology in children and adolescents with congenital heart disease (CHD). However, little information is published relating to psychopathology in adults with CHD. We wanted to estimate the prevalence of psychopathology in adults with CHD.

Design: A cross-sectional study of attenders at an adult CHD clinic compared with orthopaedic outpatients of the same hospital.

Setting: A tertiary CHD clinic in South Wales, the comparison group being recruited from the orthopaedic outpatient clinic in the same teaching hospital.

Participants: One hundred and one individuals attending the CHD clinic were identified, 87 successfully completed questionnaires. Forty-five from 80 randomly selected orthopaedic outpatients completed questionnaires.

Main outcome measures: The General Health Questionnaire 30 (GHQ30) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

Results: We found a statistically significant difference in the mean GHQ 30 score between the CHD and comparison groups, the CHD group having lower scores. The difference remained after adjustment for age and sex. The mean HADS scores differed in the same direction, and were of borderline statistical significance.

Conclusions: In this study, adult subjects with CHD had a lower prevalence of psychopathology. Possible explanations for this finding are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence