Introduction: Despite having increased life expectancy, patients with congenital heart disease are sometimes presumed to have a diminished quality of life. This study therefore assessed the quality of life and perceived health of adults with congenital heart disease and compared these two measures with those reported by healthy control subjects.
Methods: Using a comparative study design, we examined quality of life and perceived health in 404 patients who were matched for age, sex, educational level, and employment status with 404 healthy counterparts. Quality of life was measured using a linear analog scale and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Problems and concerns relevant to patients' quality of life were assessed by the Congenital Heart Disease-TNO-AZL Adult Quality of Life scale. Perceived health was also assessed with a linear analog scale.
Results: Patients perceived their quality of life (median linear analog scale score 80; median Satisfaction with Life Scale score 28) and health status to be good (median linear analog scale 80). Quality of life was significantly better in patients with congenital heart disease than in healthy peers, with a mean standardized difference of 0.22 on the linear analog scale and 0.34 on the Satisfaction with Life Scale. No group difference was found for perceived health. Problems and concerns in adults with congenital heart disease overlapped to a large extent with those identified by control subjects. Patients reported significantly higher distress scores for 16 of 77 items, whereas control subjects perceived more distress for 20 items.
Conclusion: Adults with congenital heart disease perceived their quality of life to be better than did their healthy counterparts. This finding refutes the presumed lower quality of life in patients with cardiac anomalies.