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Anxiety, depression, ADHD more likely in children with congenital heart disease

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Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) are more likely to have anxiety, depression, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than children without CHD, according to a study.

In this comparative cross-sectional study, the medical records of 118 785 patients between the ages of 4 and 17 years with >1 hospitalization or emergency department visits, were analyzed.

Of the 1164 patients with CHD, 18.2% (n = 212) had a diagnosis or medication for anxiety or depression compared with 5.2% (n = 6088) of patients without CHD. All of the patients with CHD significantly higher odds of anxiety and/or depression or ADHD.

Children between 4 and 9 years old with simple CHD and complex single ventricle CHD had approximately 5 times and 7 times, respectively, higher odds of diagnosis or treatment for anxiety and/or depression. Regardless of disease severity, minorities, and uninsured patients were significantly less likely to be diagnosed or treated for anxiety and/or depression or ADHD.

The authors concluded that screening for anxiety, depression, and ADHD should be considered for all patients with CHD.


Gonzalez VJ, Kimbro RT, Cutitta KE, et al. Mental health disorders in children with congenital heart disease. Pediatrics. 2021; e20201693; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2020-1693.