Quality of life of adult congenital heart disease patients: a systematic review of the literature

Cardiol Young. 2013 Aug;23(4):473-85. doi: 10.1017/S1047951112002351. Epub 2013 Feb 6.


Aims: This review explores the quality of life of adult congenital heart disease patients and the relationship between disease severity and quality of life.

Methods: We searched seven electronic databases and the bibliography of articles. The 31 selected studies fulfilled the following criteria: adult population; quantitative; assessment of quality of life and/or impact of disease severity on quality of life using validated measures; English language. Data extraction forms were used to summarise the results.

Results: There are evident methodological limitations within the reviewed studies such as heterogeneous populations, designs, and quality of life conceptualisations and measurements. Despite these problems, findings suggest that the quality of life of adult congenital heart disease patients is compromised in the physical domain compared with their healthy counterparts, whereas no differences were found in relation to the psychosocial and environmental/occupational domain. Some severity variables appear to be significant correlates of quality of life and could be considered in a future standardised classification of disease severity.

Conclusion: The methodological limitations of past research in relation to the definition and measurement of quality of life, the study designs, and disease severity classifications need to be addressed in future studies in order to provide robust evidence and valid conclusions in this area of study. This will enable the development of targeted interventions for the improvement of quality of life in the adult population of congenital heart disease patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / physiopathology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Young Adult