Transition to adult health care for adolescents and young adults with congenital heart disease: Perspectives of the patient, parent and health care provider

Nadia A. Clarizia, Nita Chahal, Cedric Manlhiot, Jennifer Kilburn, Andrew N. Redington, Brian W. McCrindle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Background: Pediatric institutions play a large role in preparing young adults with congenital heart disease to transition to adult care. Objective: To determine the perspectives of patients, parents and providers on transition preparation. Methods: Patients aged nine to 18 years with congenital heart defects and their respective parent(s) participated in semistructured interviews. Health care providers completed a self-administered survey. Results: A total of 23 patients, 22 parents and 45 health care providers were enrolled in the study. Only 36% of patients demonstrated a clear understanding of transition and its implications for their cardiac care. Parents were extensively involved in care activities, with 95% accompanying their child to visits at the clinic, 68% staying with their child for the entire visit and 45% administering their medication. Children more knowledgeable about their diagnosis demonstrated a better understanding about their transition to adult care (100% versus 7%, respectively;. P<0.01) and were more likely to communicate directly with their providers than those who were less or not knowledgeable (88% versus 33%, respectively; P=0.03). Nurses were more likely than physicians to view increased parental involvement in care activities as a barrier to transition preparation (37% versus 5%, respectively; P=0.02). Conclusion: A lack of clear role expectations indicates a need for the pediatric health care setting to adapt appropriately to address the shifting needs of adolescent and young adult patients and their families. A formalized approach to transition preparation for adolescents with congenital heart disease needs to emphasize comprehensive education. A delegation of explicit responsibilities and the clear definition of roles for parents, providers and patients are necessary to provide young adults with the resources and support necessary to achieve a successful transition to adult care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S317-S322
JournalCanadian Journal of Cardiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Congenital heart disease
  • Education
  • Health care delivery
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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