Aims: The aim of the present study was to determine which medical variables were predictors of long-term behavioural/emotional outcome after surgical correction for congenital heart disease in infancy and childhood.
Methods: The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) was used to predict parent-reported behavioural/emotional problems in 125 10-15 year-old congenital heart disease children from: (1) biographical status (2) medical history (3) heart surgery (4) short-term post-operative course and (5) number of heart operations and (6) extra cardiac concomitant anomalies.
Results: Higher CBCL total problem scores at follow-up were associated with a greater number of heart operations and deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (< 22 degrees). 'Internalizing problems' were associated with a greater number of heart operations, deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, a short gestational age, low systemic oxygen saturation, and older age at surgical repair. 'Externalizing problems' were associated with a greater number of heart operations only.
Conclusion: Several medical variables were significant predictors and can be used to identify those congenital heart disease children who are at risk of long-term behavioural/emotional maladjustment.