PURPOSE: We sought to identify the demographic, clinical, and psychological factors associated with parents' attendance at clinical genetics services for congenital heart disease.
METHODS: A survey assessing access to cardiac genetics services and a range of other variables was sent to the families of 213 children diagnosed with congenital heart disease between the years 2000 and 2009 at the Sydney Children's Hospital, Australia.
RESULTS: Of the 114 respondents, 22% had accessed cardiac genetics services. Variables strongly associated with service attendance included presence of a syndrome associated with congenital heart disease (odds ratio = 17.93; P < 0.001) and antenatal diagnosis of congenital heart disease (odds ratio = 4.13; P = 0.02). Most participants (87%) perceived genetic factors as "quite" or "extremely important" in the development of congenital heart disease, and many (73%) believed that receiving information about congenital heart disease and genetics was "quite" or "extremely important"; however, only 36% of participants could recall receiving information of this nature. Forty-two percent of parents reported current concerns about their child's health, and a substantial subset reported levels of depression (26%), anxiety (27%), and stress (32%) warranting clinical attention.
CONCLUSION: There is a strong desire among parents of children with congenital heart disease for greater information about the role of genetic factors; however, most families do not access cardiac genetics services and report limited recall of information gathered from other sources.
- causal attributions
- congenital heart disease
- genetic counseling
- genetics services
- health services
- psychological stress