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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Jennifer Gerardin, MD, 8915 W. Connell Ct. PO Box 1997, Milwaukee, WI 53226, Phone 414.266.7584 Fax 414.266.3261, jgerardin@chw.org

Author Contributions: All authors take responsibility for the content of the manuscript. All authors had approval of final manuscript. All authors have approved the manuscript and agree with submission to Congenital Heart Disease.

Concept/design: Drs. Gerardin, Book, Hogue and Ms. Raskin Hood. Statistical analysis: Ms. Raskin-Hood and Mr. Hoffman. Data analysis and interpretation: Ms. Raskind-Hood, Drs. Rodriguez, Book, Gerardin, Hogue and Kalogeropoulos.

Initial drafting article: Dr. Gerardin. Critical revision of article: Ms. Raskind-Hood, Drs. Rodriguez, Book, Gerardin, Hogue and Kalogeropoulos.

Disclosures: None of the authors have any conflict of interest.


Research Funding:

Dr. Book receives Funding/Support: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grant/Award Number: CDC‐RFA‐DD15-1506.

National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 35860.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Cardiac & Cardiovascular Systems
  • Cardiovascular System & Cardiology
  • adult congenital heart disease
  • transfer of care
  • transition
  • General population
  • Young adults
  • Transition
  • Prevalence
  • Age

Lost in the system? Transfer to adult congenital heart disease care-Challenges and solutions


Journal Title:

Congenital Heart Disease


Volume 14, Number 4


, Pages 541-548

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Objective: Transfer of congenital heart disease care from the pediatric to adult setting has been identified as a priority and is associated with better outcomes. Our objective is to determine what percentage of patients with congenital heart disease transferred to adult congenital cardiac care. Design: A retrospective cohort study. Setting: Referrals to a tertiary referral center for adult congenital heart disease patients from its pediatric referral base. Patients: This resulted in 1,514 patients age 16–30, seen at least once in three pediatric Georgia healthcare systems during 2008–2010. Interventions: We analyzed for protective factors associated with age-appropriate care, including distance from referral center, age, timing of transfer, gender, severity of adult congenital heart disease and comorbidities. Outcome Measures: We analyzed initial care by age among patients under pediatric care from 2008–2010 and if patients under pediatric care subsequently transferred to an adult congenital cardiologist in this separate pediatric and adult health system during 2008–2015. Results: Among 1,514 initial patients (39% severe complexity), 24% were beyond the recommended transfer age of 21 years. Overall, only 12.1% transferred care to the referral affiliated adult hospital. 90% of these adults that successfully transferred were seen by an adult congenital cardiologist, with an average of 33.9 months between last pediatric visit and first adult visit. Distance to referral center contributed to delayed transfer to adult care. Those with severe congenital heart disease were more likely to transfer (18.7% vs. 6.2% for not severe). Conclusion: Patients with severe disease are more likely to transfer to adult congenital heart disease care than non-severe disease. Most congenital heart disease patients do not transfer to adult congenital cardiology care with distance to referral center being a contributing factor. Both pediatric and adult care providers need to understand and address barriers in order to improve successful transfer.

Copyright information:

© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.

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