Monitoring Development Is Key in Congenital Heart Disease

Surveillance, screening, evaluation, reevaluation throughout childhood aids identification of deficits

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) are at increased risk of developmental disorders or disabilities and developmental delay, and consequently benefit from periodic developmental surveillance, screening, evaluation, and reevaluation to identify significant deficits, according to an American Heart Association scientific statement published online July 30 in Circulation.

Noting that children with complex CHD have a significantly increased risk for developmental disorders or disabilities, Bradley S. Marino, M.D., M.P.P., M.S.C.E., from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and colleagues reviewed the available literature on surveillance, screening, evaluation, and management strategies to create recommendations to optimize neurodevelopmental outcomes in the pediatric population with CHD.

The researchers devised a management algorithm that classified children with CHD on the basis of established risk factors. Formal, periodic developmental and medical evaluations are recommended for those deemed to be at high risk for developmental disorders or disabilities, or for developmental delay. A CHD algorithm, designed to be carried out within the context of the medical home, has been constructed to serve as a supplement to the 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics statement on developmental surveillance and screening.

"Surveillance, screening, evaluation, and reevaluation of developmental disorders or disabilities and developmental delays in the pediatric CHD population are essential steps to obtain appropriate interventions to maximize these children's potential overall development, quality of life, and opportunity to become productive, responsible adults," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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