Medical factors that predict quality of life for young adults with congenital heart disease: What matters most?

Int J Cardiol. 2016 Jan 1;202:804-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2015.09.116. Epub 2015 Sep 30.


Background: Identify demographic and medical status indicators that account for variability in physical and emotional health-related quality of life (QoL) among young adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) as compared to traditional lesion severity categories.

Methods: Cross-sectional study of 218 young adult survivors of CHD (mean=25.7, SD=7.1 years). Participants were recruited from pediatric and adult CHD clinics at a pediatric and an adult hospital. Stepwise linear regression examined the unique contribution of demographic (age; sex; estimated income) and medical status indicators (comorbid conditions; treatment modality; ventricular function/functional capacity) on QoL compared to traditional lesion severity categories (simple; moderate; complex).

Results: Lesion severity category accounted for a small portion of the variance in physical QoL (3%), but was not associated with emotional QoL. Lesion severity did not significantly contribute to the variability in physical QoL once other variables were entered. Having an estimated income of ≤$30,000, taking more than one cardiac-related medication, and having a New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class designation>I was associated with poorer physical QoL and explained 23% of the variability. NYHA class was the only variable that explained a unique proportion of variance (7%) in emotional QoL, and having a NYHA class designation>I was associated with greater risk for poorer emotional functioning.

Conclusions: Findings suggested that several indicators readily available to treatment teams may provide important information about the risk for poor patient-reported outcomes of physical and emotional QoL among CHD survivors.

Keywords: Congenital heart defects; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult