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Mayo Clin Proc. 1991 May;66(5):474-9.

Long-term psychologic implications of congenital heart disease: a 25-year follow-up.

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Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905.


Patients with various types of congenital heart disease were contacted 25 years after their original examination at the Mayo Clinic. In addition to providing their current health status, level of education achieved, and current occupation, they were asked to complete a detailed standardized questionnaire to assess their degree of psychologic stress. Of the original 463 patients, 168 completed and returned the psychologic questionnaires. These patients had evidence of psychologic stress in excess of that expected on the basis of normative data. Furthermore, the degree of stress was unrelated to the clinical severity of the original cardiac defect. In addition, the psychologic stress occurred despite "success" as defined by educational achievement and occupational level. One can speculate that as children these patients were exposed to environmental stresses that may well have been colored by parental attitudes and perceptions.

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