Congenital Heart Surgeons' Society

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Congenital Heart Surgery Produces Parental Anxiety
Jess L. Thompson, Elaine Griffeth, Michael Brand, Harold Burkhart.
University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK.

Limited data exist as regards the anxiety parents feel when their child is undergoing cardiac surgery. The purpose of this study is to examine the psychological health of both parents concurrently, at the time of their child’s congenital heart surgery. Methods:
From March 2016 until February 2018, a validated survey (Generalized Anxiety Disorder - 7) was administered to the parents (50 mothers, 50 fathers) of children undergoing cardiac surgery. The surveys were completed on the day of the child’s operation, and were collected prior to their child being discharged from the intensive care unit. The results were analyzed using routine statistical methodology. Results:
The mean age of the mothers was 33+7 years and fathers was 34+7 years. Twenty-two patients were less than 1 month old, 18 patients 31 days - 2 years old, and 10 patients greater than 2 years old. The mean STAT category was 2.7+1. Based on the anxiety survey, 33 (66%) mothers and 31 (62%) fathers had moderate or severe anxiety. Anxiety was not predicted based on race (p=0.2), education level (p=0.8), or marital status of the biologic parents (p=1). Interestingly, the level of anxiety did not increase corresponding to increasing STAT category of the operation (r=0.6). Conclusions:
Parents experience considerable anxiety at the time of a child’s cardiac operation. Prevalence of anxiety is similar between genders. Low-risk operations produced the same level of anxiety as higher-risk operations. Race, level of education attained, and marital status of the biologic parents did not affect levels of anxiety.