Children with heart defects have poor quality of life, finds study

Behaviour, physical well-being, cognitive functioning of infants, toddlers studied

February 20, 2018 12:16 am | Updated 01:11 pm IST - KOCHI

File picture for representative purpose.

File picture for representative purpose.

A study on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in infants and toddlers in the age group of one to 24 months with congenital heart disease has found that about one-third of infants and toddlers with uncorrected congenital heart disease (CHD) have a poorer quality of life.

The study was published under the head Global Child Health in the British Medical Journal last month.

Psychosocial problems have been recognised as a hidden condition in paediatric healthcare related to CHD, said Dr. Manu Raj, lead investigator of the study.

Mothers usually discover, when nursing a second baby, whether the first baby or the second baby was more active during the first four months. If the baby is the first child, it is a learning process for the mother as well.

Among toddlers too, the energy levels are recognised by their activities, playing, mingling with others, and emotional and cognitive functioning. A child with CHD is brought in for medical care because of such observations by parents.

Such subtle parameters in the behaviour of infants and toddlers, physical well-being, and emotional and cognitive functioning, were identified and compiled into a study by Dr. Manu Raj and his team in the departments of paediatric public health and the paediatric cardiology at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.

The study was done with help from the parents of babies who reached the institute for corrective surgeries. The control group was from the community within 10 km of the study institute.

Comprehensive care

Paediatric cardiologist R. Krishnakumar, who was part of the study, said it was expected to help cardiologists identify and understand how HRQOL impacted children with CHD during infancy and early childhood. It would help provide comprehensive care to such children, he added.

The study was conducted by preparing a comprehensive questionnaire for parents, especially mothers of children with CHD. All HRQOL components, except social and cognitive functioning, were significantly higher for control group infants and toddlers compared to those with CHD.

A total of 302 infants (1-12 months) and 326 toddlers (13-24 months) were part of the control group against 427 infants and 72 toddlers with uncorrected CHD.

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