OBJECTIVE: To determine whether women with congenital heart disease were receiving appropriate advice on contraception. SETTING: Adult congenital heart disease clinic in a tertiary cardiac referral centre. DESIGN: Questionnaire administered to 35 consecutive female patients attending the adult congenital clinic. The cardiologist assessed what the risk would be if each patient used an oestrogen containing contraceptive pill (OCP). RESULTS: Of the 33 patients admitted to the study 6 patients thought their heart condition precluded them from taking an OCP when in fact it did not and 3 incorrectly said that an OCP would be suitable for them. Three women with relatively minor lesions had been incorrectly denied the OCP and 2 further patients were using inappropriate methods. There had been 6 unwanted pregnancies in the total group. CONCLUSIONS: Many women with congenital heart disease do not know the most appropriate method of contraception for them or have received incorrect advice. It is often patients with less severe lesions who receive the most inappropriate advice. It is clear that the family planning needs of this population are currently poorly catered for. Each unit must ensure that the information necessary in making informed decisions on contraception is available to the doctor advising on family planning.
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