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Survival with congenital heart disease and need for follow up in adult life
  1. C Wren,
  2. J J O'Sullivan
  1. Department of Paediatric Cardiology, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DN, UK
  1. Dr WrenChristopher.Wren{at}


OBJECTIVE To predict the growth in demand for long term follow up of adults with congenital heart disease.

DESIGN Observed diagnoses of congenital heart disease in infancy and childhood were adjusted for observed infant survival, predicted further survival to age 16 years, underascertainment in older childhood, and predicted need for long term follow up.

SETTING The resident population of one health region in the UK.

PATIENTS All confirmed cardiovascular malformations diagnosed in 1985 to 1999 in children born in 1985 to 1994.

RESULTS 1942 cases of congenital heart disease were diagnosed in infancy in a population of 377 310 live births (5.2/1000). 1588 (82%) survived to 1 year and 1514 were predicted to survive to age 16. 605 further diagnoses were made in childhood—678 when adjusted for underascertainment. Thus, 2192 children were predicted to reach age 16, of whom 784 would require long term follow up in adult life. The adult population would comprise 28% complex, 54% significant, and 18% minor congenital heart disease. These figures predict the need for adult follow up of congenital heart disease of over 200 extra cases per 100 000 live births each year or over 1600 extra cases a year every year in the UK.

CONCLUSIONS The need for follow up of congenital heart disease in adult life is likely to grow linearly, with increasing complexity and increasing need for reinvestigation and reintervention with time. Appropriate provision should be made for adequate manpower, resources, and facilities for care of these patients.

  • adult congenital heart disease
  • resources
  • patient survival

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