Pediatric Cardiology

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 1–16 | Cite as

Health-Related Quality of Life and Psychological Adjustment of Children and Adolescents with Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators: A Systematic Review

  • Ashima Pyngottu
  • Helene Werner
  • Phaedra Lehmann
  • Christian BalmerEmail author
Review Article


The absence of cardiac symptoms, the improved exercise tolerance and the increased life expectancy are the advantages of a successful cardiac device therapy. Nevertheless, the fact of a lifelong device dependency, the inherent possibility of device malfunction and the progression of the underlying heart disease may impact the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and the psychological adjustment of these individuals. To date, an overview of findings on these topics is lacking. The objective of this study was to evaluate and summarize the current evidence on generic and disease-specific HRQoL and psychological adjustment in paediatric patients with a pacemaker (PM) or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). A systematic literature search was conducted using relevant databases and predefined keywords. Study selection was conducted based on predefined inclusion criteria. Fourteen studies were selected which were of varying methodological quality. Overall, the studies indicated that PM/ICD patients themselves and their parents scored lower than healthy controls on generic HRQoL scales and reported similar disease-related HRQoL as patients with severe forms of congenital heart disease. Regarding psychological adjustment outcome, PM recipients and norms were not significantly different with respect to anxiety and depression symptoms, while ICD patients showed more signs of anxiety than depression. HRQoL and psychological health should be considered when setting therapy goals and evaluating medical treatment success. This approach allows an early intervention in patients at risk of maladaptation, which is especially important in the young patient undergoing crucial developmental stages.


Cardiac rhythm device Outcome Adaptation Adjustment Chronic disease 



This study did not receive any grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit organization.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethics Approval

This study was approved by the ethical review board of the Canton Zurich, Switzerland, and was performed in full accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki (2015-0322).

Informed Consent

All parents provided written informed consent after study procedures and aims had been explained in detail. All children provided verbal assent, while adolescents older than 14 years of age also provided written informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cardiology, Pediatric Heart CentreUniversity Children’s Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Psychosomatics and PsychiatryUniversity Children’s Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Children’s Research CenterUniversity Children’s Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of Cardiology, Pediatric Heart Centre, Children’s Research CenterUniversity Children’s Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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