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Mended Little HeartGuide

About My Child’s Heart Table of Introduction Contents SECTION Neurodevelopmental Issues in Children With CHD The American Heart Association recently published a statement indicating that children with more severe congenital heart defects are at higher risk for neurodevelopmental issues. In simple terms, this means that kids with some forms of CHD (usually those that require surgery and regular follow-ups) will not meet developmental milestones at the same time or perform at the same level academically as their healthy peers. (The CDC has information about normal developmental milestones.) These children may also have behavioral issues such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) more often than other children their age. Parents and caregivers of these children should be aware of potential neurodevelopmental issues so that their child can get early treatment for any problems that may arise. Addressing these issues early will help your son or daughter feel more confident and give him or her a better chance for developing life skills and attaining educational success. Not all children with CHD will have neurodevelopmental issues, and those who do often adjust very well and do not appear any different from their peers. Still, it is important to get screenings to avoid any learning problems your child may have. What is a neurodevelopmental issue? There are two types of neurodevelopmental issues: • Developmental disability: A limitation or disability of the cognitive function of the brain or the way the brain handles emotion, behavior and learning. It may also be a physical limitation. • Developmental delay: Developmental, physical and/or mental skills that are not at the same level as other children of the same age. In addition to social and psychological issues, children with complex CHD have a significantly higher risk of disability in the following areas: • Intelligence • Academic achievement • Language (development, expressive and receptive) • Visual construction and perception • Attention • Executive functioning • Fine and gross motor skills • Psychosocial maladjustment (internalizing and externalizing problems) Who is at risk? Children with milder forms of CHD, such as atrial septal defects (ASDs), do not seem to have a higher incidence of developmental disabilities than their peers. Children who were on cardiopulmonary bypass during surgery or children who were born cyanotic (decreased blood oxygen) seem to be at the highest risk. Some types of CHD that increase the risk of neurodevelopmental issues include: • Coarctation of the Aorta (Coarc) • Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) • Ventricular septal defect (VSD) with comorbidities • Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR) • Single ventricle defects 44 Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) 44 Hypoplastic right heart syndrome (HRHS) 44 Tricuspid atresia Go To 72


Mended Little HeartGuide
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