It is now expected that most individuals with congenital heart disease will survive to adulthood, including those with complex heart conditions. Maintaining lifelong medical care requires those with congenital heart disease to eventually transfer from pediatric to adult-oriented health care systems. Developing health care transition skills and gaining independence in managing one’s own health care is imperative to this process and to ongoing medical and psychosocial success. This scientific statement reviews the recent evidence regarding transition and provides resources, components, and suggestions for development of congenital heart disease transition programs with the goals of improving patient knowledge, self-management, and self-efficacy skills to the level they are capable to eventually integrate smoothly into adult-oriented health care. Specifically, the scientific statement updates 3 sections relevant to transition programming. First, there is a review of specific factors to consider, including social determinants of health, psychosocial well-being, and neurocognitive status. The second section reviews costs of inadequate transition including the public health burden and the impairment in individual quality of life. Finally, the last section discusses considerations and suggestions for transition program design including communication platforms, a family-centered approach, and individual models. Although this scientific statement reviews recent literature surrounding transitions of care for individuals with congenital heart disease there remain significant knowledge gaps. As a field, we have yet to determine ideal timing and methods of transition, and barriers to transition and transfer remain, particularly for the underserved populations. The consequences of poor health care transition are great and garnering outcomes and information through organized, multifaceted, collaborative approaches to transition is critical to improving the lifelong care of individuals with congenital heart disease.
- AHA Scientific Statements
- heart defects
- social determinants of health
- transition to adult care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine