Psychological Outcomes and Interventions for Individuals With Congenital Heart Disease: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association


Although resilience and high quality of life are demonstrated by many individuals with congenital heart disease, a range of significant psychological challenges exists across the life span for this growing patient population. Psychiatric disorders represent the most common comorbidity among people with congenital heart disease. Clinicians are becoming increasingly aware of the magnitude of this problem and its interplay with patients’ physical health, and many seek guidance and resources to improve emotional, behavioral‚ and social outcomes. This American Heart Association scientific statement summarizes the psychological outcomes of patients with congenital heart disease across the life span and reviews age-appropriate mental health interventions, including psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Data from studies on psychotherapeutic, educational‚ and pharmacological interventions for this population are scarce but promising. Models for the integration of mental health professionals within both pediatric and adult congenital heart disease care teams exist and have shown benefit. Despite strong advocacy by patients, families‚ and health care professionals, however, initiatives have been slow to move forward in the clinical setting. It is the goal of this scientific statement to serve as a catalyst to spur efforts for large-scale research studies examining psychological experiences, outcomes, and interventions tailored to this population and for integrating mental health professionals within congenital heart disease interdisciplinary teams to implement a care model that offers patients the best possible quality of life.

The American Heart Association makes every effort to avoid any actual or potential conflicts of interest that may arise as a result of an outside relationship or a personal, professional, or business interest of a member of the writing panel. Specifically, all members of the writing group are required to complete and submit a Disclosure Questionnaire showing all such relationships that might be perceived as real or potential conflicts of interest.

This statement was approved by the American Heart Association Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee on March 18, 2022, and the American Heart Association Executive Committee on April 27, 2022. A copy of the document is available at by using either “Search for Guidelines & Statements” or the “Browse by Topic” area. To purchase additional reprints, call 215-356-2721 or email .

The American Heart Association requests that this document be cited as follows: Kovacs AH, Brouillette J, Ibeziako P, Jackson JL, Kasparian NA, Kim YY, Livecchi T, Sillman C, Kochilas LK; on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young; and Stroke Council. Psychological outcomes and interventions for individuals with congenital heart disease: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2022;15:e•••••••••. doi: 10.1161/HCQ.0000000000000110

The expert peer review of AHA-commissioned documents (eg, scientific statements, clinical practice guidelines, systematic reviews) is conducted by the AHA Office of Science Operations. For more on AHA statements and guidelines development, visit Select the “Guidelines & Statements” drop-down menu, then click “Publication Development.”

Permissions: Multiple copies, modification, alteration, enhancement, and/or distribution of this document are not permitted without the express permission of the American Heart Association. Instructions for obtaining permission are located at A link to the “Copyright Permissions Request Form” appears in the second paragraph (

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