Functional health is becoming an important part of outcome assessment following congenital heart surgery.
The Child Health Questionnaire was used to evaluate self-reported functional health in a cohort of children operated on for congenital heart disease between 1996 and 2002, now aged 10–20 years. A total of 288 schoolchildren served as controls. The association between demographic and clinical factors such as the Risk Adjusted Classification for Congenital Heart Surgery, the Aristotle Basic Complexity Score, physical and psycho-social domains was explored by multivariate analysis.
In total 239 children who were operated on (response rate 68%, mean age at assessment 13.1 years, 50% male children) participated. There were no differences between children operated on for congenital heart disease and controls in nine out of thirteen domains. In multivariate analysis, male gender was positively associated with physical, mental and general health. Higher education of the parents was also associated with better scores for family activities, physical, emotional and general health. In contrast, living with a single parent was negatively associated with mental health. Category 4 in the Risk Adjusted Classification for Congenital Heart Surgery was associated with worse scores in all behaviour domains. The Aristotle Basic Complexity Score was not associated with any domain.
Functional health in children operated for congenital heart disease was overall similar to other children of the same age. Male gender of the child, education of the parents, living with a single parent, and category 4 in the Risk Adjusted Classification for Congenital Heart Surgery were important factors for functional health.