Objective: To assess the neuropsychological and behavioral profiles of school-aged children treated for atrial septal defect, secundum type (ASD-II) with open-heart surgery or catheterization.
Study design: Patients (n = 48; mean age, 9 years, 3 months) and a matched healthy group (mean age, 9 years, 2 months) were evaluated with a shortened intelligence scale (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, third edition, Dutch version) and a developmental neuropsychological test battery (Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment, second edition, Dutch version). Parents completed behavioral checklists (Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist for Children aged 6-18). Hospitalization variables were retrieved from medical files for studying associations with long-term neurodevelopment.
Results: Compared with the healthy matched controls, patients treated for ASD-II had significantly lower scores on subtasks underlying such Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment, second edition, Dutch version domains as Attention and Executive Functioning, Language, Working Memory, Sensorimotor Functioning, Social Cognition, and Visuospatial Information Processing. Only subtle differences, mainly in Visuospatial Information Processing, were found between the surgical repair and transcatheter repair groups. Socioeconomic status, longer hospital stay, and larger defect size were associated with neurocognitive outcome measures. Parents of patients reported more thought problems, posttraumatic stress problems, and lower school performance compared with parents of healthy peers.
Conclusion: After treatment for ASD-II, children display a range of neuropsychologic difficulties that may increase their risk for learning problems and academic underachievement. Differences related to treatment were not found. Our results suggest that neurodevelopmental and behavioral follow-up at school age is warranted in this group.
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