Recommendations for participation in competitive and leisure sports in patients with congenital heart disease: a consensus document

Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2006 Jun;13(3):293-9. doi: 10.1097/01.hjr.0000220574.22195.d6.


Background: Physical activity is important for patients with congenital heart disease. The aim of this paper is to provide a consensus document for participation in competitive or leisure sport activity in children and adults with congenital heart disease.

Methods: The recommendations are based on expert consensus meetings, personal experience of the contributing authors and an updated review of the literature regarding exercise performance and risk stratification in patients with congenital heart disease.

Results: Physical performance and exercise tolerance is close to normal in patients with simple lesions with successful repair or no need for therapy. Most patients with complex lesions have some degree of residual disease, making them less suitable for participation in competitive sport.

Conclusion: Regular exercise at recommended levels can be performed and should be encouraged in all patients with congenital heart disease. Many can attend sports with no restrictions. Special concern should be given to those patients with a significant ventricular dysfunction or recent history or risk of arrhythmia.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / classification
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Sports* / physiology