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Adult Congenital Heart Disease Care in Europe Inadequate

Only a fifth of specialist centers fulfill all criteria for optimal care

WEDNESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Care for adults with congenital heart disease is inadequate in Europe, with only a fifth of specialist centers fulfilling all criteria for optimal care, according to a study published online April 26 in the European Heart Journal.

Philip Moons, Ph.D., R.N., of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, and colleagues surveyed 71 European centers on their care of patients with adult congenital heart disease.

The researchers found that only nine of the 48 specialist centers (19 percent) fulfilled all eight recommendations for optimal care of patients with adult congenital heart disease. They also found that only 14 of the 23 non-specialist centers (61 percent) collaborated with a specialist center. Performing at least 50 congenital heart operations per year and involving nurse specialists in care were the most difficult criteria for centers to comply with, according to the study.

"This survey indicated that the provision of care in Europe for adults with congenital heart defects is suboptimal," Moons and colleagues conclude. "To fully realize the benefits of cardiac surgery performed in infants and children, continuous effort must be applied by health care professionals in order to implement the recommendations on the organization of care for these patients."

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