Adults with congenital heart disease: Psychological needs and treatment preferences

Adrienne H. Kovacs, Katherine L. Bendell, Jack Colman, Jeanine L. Harrison, Erwin Oechslin, Candice Silversides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objective. Approximately one-third of adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) patients have mood or anxiety disorders, the majority of which go untreated. The extent to which this group of patients is interested in psychological services is, however, unknown. This study investigated the perceived psychological needs of patients and their mental health treatment preferences. Design. Participants completed an anonymous survey with items regarding mental health treatment history, preferences for future treatment, Internet use, and interest in peer support. Results. A total of 155 ACHD patients completed study questionnaires (mean age = 39 years; 50% female). Forty percent of patients reported previous mental health treatment. Some 51% of patients (73/142) indicated significant interest in at least 1 of 7 defined areas of psychological treatment (managing mood and/or anxiety, coping with a cardiac condition, stress management, anger management, relationship difficulties, substance use, and smoking cessation). Patients were most interested in stress management and coping with heart disease; one-third of patients (48/141 and 47/141, respectively) expressed high interest in these 2 topics. There was a consistent preference for psychological treatment to be provided over the Internet vs. in person or over the telephone; 94% of the patients had Internet access. In total, 35% of patients (51/145) were interested in receiving peer support. Conclusions. It is not only health providers who recognize the importance of psychological care for ACHD patients. As a group, patients are also interested in psychological treatment and peer support. Programs are encouraged to provide psychological services and maximize opportunities for interactions with other patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-146
Number of pages8
JournalCongenital Heart Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult Congenital Heart Disease
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Internet
  • Psychological

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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