Transition and transfer from pediatric to adult care of young adults with complex congenital heart disease

Curr Cardiol Rep. 2009 Jul;11(4):291-7. doi: 10.1007/s11886-009-0042-8.


Many children with complex congenital heart disease are now surviving childhood with the potential to live meaningful and productive adult lives. The process of transitioning or preparing patients and families for transfer from pediatric to adult care is challenging and rarely implemented properly. An inadequate transition process results in delayed and inappropriate care, improper timing of transfer, and undue emotional and financial stress on the patients, their families, and the health care system. At worst, patients are lost to appropriate follow-up. This article discusses the general principles of transition and transfer for young adults with chronic illness, highlights the needs of young adults with congenital heart disease, discusses the barriers to transition, and proposes goals and key elements of a formal transition program.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cardiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Pediatrics
  • Young Adult