Parental decision-making in congenital heart disease
Division of Critical Care Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Cardiology in the Young
(Impact Factor: 0.84).
07/2004; 14(3):309-14. DOI: 10.1017/S1047951104003099
To explore whether prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease is associated with lower levels of parental distress and greater satisfaction with decisions about cardiothoracic surgery when compared to postnatal diagnosis.
A combined quantitative-qualitative design was used. Participants included the parents of 31 neonates (30 mothers and 22 fathers) admitted to the cardiac intensive care unit between 1 November 2001 and 1 May 2002 for repair of congenital cardiac malformations. Participants completed self-report measures of anxiety, optimism, and life events pre-operatively, and semi-structured qualitative interviews assessing satisfaction with decision-making within 1 week of the operation.
At the time of surgery, mothers of neonates receiving the diagnosis prenatally did not differ from mothers of neonates receiving the diagnosis postnatally on measures of anxiety, optimism, and life events. Fathers of neonates receiving the diagnosis prenatally, however, reported more optimism, lower state and trait anxiety, and fewer negative life events than fathers of neonates receiving the diagnosis postnatally. When we analyzed the interviews, we found that, regardless of the timing of the diagnosis, parents felt as though they made a genuine choice for their baby to have surgery.
In this pilot study, fathers who learned prenatally that their child had a congenital cardiac malformation were less distressed than those who discovered this fact only postnatally. From the parental perspective, nonetheless, distress and urgency do not impair their ability to make decisions about neonatal cardiac surgery.
Available from: Gil Wernovsky
Available from: Jack Rychik
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ABSTRACT: Although parents of neonates with congenital heart disease are often asked permission for their neonates to participate in research studies, little is known about the factors parents consider when making these decisions.
To determine the reasons for parents' decisions about participation in research studies.
Qualitative analysis of the unsolicited comments of 34 parents regarding reasons for agreeing or declining to participate in research studies. Parents' comments were offered spontaneously during interviews about clinical care decisions for neonates with congenital heart disease.
Parents cited five types of reason for or against permitting their newborn to participate in research studies: societal benefit (n = 18), individual benefit for their infant (n = 16), risk of study participation (n = 10), perception that participation posed no harm (n = 9), and anti-experimentation views (n = 4).
Addressing parental decision making in the light of these reasons could enhance the parental permission process for parents of critically ill neonates.
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ABSTRACT: Variability in practice can be considered to foster clinical innovation, and allow for individualized therapeutic plans and independence of practitioners. The Institute of Medicine, however, has issued a report suggesting that variability in patterns of practice are "illogical", and should be avoided whenever possible. Perhaps nowhere in the field of congenital cardiac disease is variability in practice more apparent than in the management of hypoplastic left heart syndrome. This review assesses the variability in practice at a large number of centres that manage neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, with an emphasis on practice before, during, and after the first stage of the Norwood sequence of operations. We also suggest changes in future strategies for research. In March, 2007, colleagues were contacted to respond to an internet-based survey using commercially available software (www.surveymonkey.com) to collect responses about the management practices for neonates with "straight-forward" hypoplastic left heart syndrome. No attempt was made to correlate management practices with any measures of outcome, as neither the practices themselves, nor the outcomes of interest, could be externally validated. Data is reported from 52 centers thought to manage over 1000 neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome on an annual basis. The first stage of the Norwood sequence was "recommended" to families by approximately five-sixths (86.5%) of the centres. No centre recommended primary cardiac transplantation, a "hybrid" approach, or non-intervention. In 7 centres (14.5%), it was reported that there was discussion of some or all of the above options, but ultimately the families decided upon the appropriate strategy. Most centres preferentially used antegrade cerebral perfusion (54%) in contrast to deep hypothermia with circulatory arrest (24%), albeit that 11% of centres used a combination of these techniques and in 9% the support strategy was based on surgeon preference. The source of flow of blood for the lungs following the first stage of reconstruction was also highly variable. Of the 51 centres that responded to the question, 13 (25.5%) were participating in a multi-centric randomized clinical trial comparing the modified Blalock-Taussig shunt to the conduit placed from the right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries, the so-called "Sano" modification. Of the remaining 38 centres, 18 "usually" placed a conduit from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery, 14 "usually" placed a modified Blalock-Taussig shunt, and at six centres, the decision was made "based upon the preference of the surgeon and/or the cardiologist". Similarly, significant variability in practice was evident in preoperative management, other surgical strategies, postoperative medical support, monitoring and discharge planning. Other than the randomized clinical trial of shunt type, no other medical or surgical management strategy was currently under investigation in a multi-centric or randomized trial in the centres who responded to the survey. The survey emphasises the extreme variability in our current practices for treatment of children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. While there are some areas for which there is consensus in management, the majority of our practices are variable between and within centres. These results emphasize that large multicentric trials and registries are necessary to improve care, and to answer important clinical questions, emphasizing the need to shift from analysis of experiences of single centres to multi-centric and multi-disciplinary collaboration.
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