Navigating the Transition: Ensuring Optimal Care for Adolescents with Congenital Heart Disease as They Become Adults
The paper discusses the importance of smooth transitions in healthcare for adolescents with congenital heart disease (CHD) as they move into adulthood. CHD, a condition diagnosed and managed within pediatric subspecialties, often requires ongoing care and interventions throughout a patient's life. As adolescents grow into adults, they are expected to take more responsibility for their own healthcare. However, if they fail to maintain regular care during this transitional period, they may miss crucial opportunities for secondary prevention, leading to complications and increased morbidity.
The paper also highlights that many early life procedures for CHD are palliative rather than curative, meaning they alleviate symptoms without completely curing the disease. Therefore, these patients often need further interventions in adulthood to ensure optimal outcomes. Moreover, even simple CHD lesions treated with 'curative' procedures in childhood can lead to increased risk of developing comorbid cardiac conditions, such as arrhythmia and heart failure, in adulthood. If patients do not keep up with diagnostic testing, chronic therapies, and medical team guidance, their health outcomes can be compromised, affecting their overall well-being and placing additional strain on the healthcare system.