Prevalence of ADHD symptoms in patients with congenital heart disease

Pediatr Int. 2012 Dec;54(6):838-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2012.03711.x. Epub 2012 Nov 21.


Objective: The presence of attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children with congenital heart disease (CHD) was investigated.

Methods: Swanson, Nolan and Pelham teacher and parent rating scales, version 4 (SNAP-IV), commonly used for assessing symptoms of ADHD, were completed by parents and counselors of children who attended a CHD summer camp. Mean scores (n = 51) were compared with two comparison groups without CHD: patients with ADHD (n = 75) and patients without ADHD (n = 41). Parent scores were also compared to previously published parent normative data.

Results: Patients with CHD were reported to have elevated SNAP-IV scores by parents and counselors (11.8%). Parent ratings of inattention were significantly greater in CHD subjects when compared to the comparison group without ADHD (P < 0.001), and similar to the ADHD-positive comparison group. Regarding parent ratings of hyperactivity and impulsivity, the CHD group was significantly lower than the ADHD-positive controls (P = 0.024) but greater than the ADHD-negative controls (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: ADHD symptoms are more prevalent in children with CHD. Parent ratings of inattention and hyperactivity symptoms in CHD patients are similar to ratings in children diagnosed with ADHD. There is a trend towards a greater prevalence of inattention symptoms in patients with cyanosis or single ventricle physiology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires