Pediatric Cardiology

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 232–238 | Cite as

Provision of Transition Education and Referral Patterns from Pediatric Cardiology to Adult Cardiac Care

  • Anna L. HarbisonEmail author
  • Stafford GradyJr.
  • Kevin Chi
  • Susan M. Fernandes
Original Article


ACC/AHA guidelines recommend a structured preparation for and transfer to adult-oriented cardiac care for adult survivors of pediatric onset heart disease (POHD). Given this, we sought to describe the transition and transfer practices for a cohort of young adults with POHD and to determine factors associated with successful transfer to adult-oriented cardiac care. We performed a single-center, retrospective chart review on patients ≥18 years of age, with POHD likely to require lifelong cardiac care, who were seen in outpatient pediatric cardiology (PC) between 2008 and 2011. Successful transfer was defined as the subsequent attendance at adult cardiology (AC) within 2 years of PC visit. We identified 118 patients who met study criteria. Mean age 22.4 ± 2.0 years, 59 % male, 64 % white and 40 % Hispanic. Mean transition education topics noted was 3.3 ± 1.8 out of 20 and covered the underlying cardiac disease (89 %), follow-up and current medications (56 %) and exercise limitations (34 %). Recommendations for follow-up were AC (57 %) and PC (33 %). Of those told to transfer to AC, 79 % successfully transferred. Characteristics of successful transfer included: prior cardiac surgery (p = 0.008), cardiac medication use (p = 0.006) and frequency of follow-up ≤1 year (p = 0.037). One-quarter of all subjects did not follow-up within at least 2 years. Despite published guidelines, transition education appears lacking and the approach to transfer to adult cardiac care is not consistent. Given the increased risk of morbidity and mortality in this patient population, standardization of transition education and transfer processes appear warranted.


Healthcare transition Pediatric cardiology Adult congenital heart disease 



The authors would like to acknowledge Miranda Zinsman, BA, and John Tamaresis, PhD, for their time and efforts toward this project. STRIDE and REDCap software were supported by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant UL1 RR025744. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna L. Harbison
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Stafford GradyJr.
    • 2
  • Kevin Chi
    • 2
  • Susan M. Fernandes
    • 2
  1. 1.Children’s Hospital Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Stanford UniversityPalo AltoUSA

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