Background: Survival rates of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) have increased significantly in the decade. There is now increased interest in the long-term outcome and quality of life of these children.
Aims: To assess the educational achievement of patients with CHD in Germany.
Study design: Cross-sectional study using an online survey. The recruitment of study participants was carried out via the database of the German National Register for Congenital Heart Defects (NRCHD).
Subjects: Patients born between 1992 and 2011 were enrolled in the study. For 2609 study participants (female = 1870 (71.7%); 1072 (41.1%) patients; 1537 (58.9%) parents), who participated in the survey, detailed information regarding the underlying CHD diagnosis and clinical data was available.
Outcome measures: Age at enrollment, secondary school form, school year repetition, school degree.
Results: The large majority of study participants were enrolled at a conventional elementary school (83.4%) and started school at the age of 6 years or below (73.3%). In total 45.7% of graduated study participants graduated with the qualification necessary to study at any university. In terms of analysis of the different CHD severity subgroups 57.3% of patients with a mild CHD, 47.5% with a moderate CHD and only 35.1% suffering from a severe CHD attained a high school diploma.
Conclusions: In our study, the majority of participating CHD patients had a standard school career. These initial results are of great importance to affected families and treating physicians as they show that, in general, a normal school career is possible for all CHD patients.
Keywords: Congenital heart disease; Graduation qualification; School enrollment.
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