Pediatric Cardiology

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 394–401 | Cite as

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Stimulant Therapy, and the Patient with Congenital Heart Disease: Evidence and Reason

  • Anjan S. BatraEmail author
  • Mark E. Alexander
  • Michael J. Silka
Review Article


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurobehavioral disorder of childhood, and congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common form of birth defect. Children with CHD are at increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD. Stimulant medications, specifically methylphenidates and amphetamines, are frequently prescribed and effective in reducing the symptoms of ADHD. Despite their efficacy and long history of use, the safety of these medications has recently come into question due to isolated reports describing sudden unexplained death of children undergoing treatment. This review summarizes the current literature on the cardiovascular risks associated with the use of pharmacologic therapy for ADHD, with an emphasis on patients who had CHD.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder Congenital heart disease Stimulant medications Sudden death 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anjan S. Batra
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark E. Alexander
    • 2
  • Michael J. Silka
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric CardiologyChildren’s Hospital of Orange County, University of California at IrvineOrangeUSA
  2. 2.Arrhythmia Service, Children’s Hospital BostonHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Cardiology, Children’s Hospital Los AngelesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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