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Palliative care and paediatric cardiology: current evidence and future directions

Journal title
The Lancet. Child & adolescent health
Publication year
Morell, E.; Moynihan, K.; Wolfe, J.; Blume, E. D.

Although outcomes for children with heart disease have improved substantially over the past several decades, heart disease remains one of the leading causes of paediatric mortality. For children who progress to advanced heart disease, disease morbidity is high, with many children requiring multiple surgical interventions and long-term intensive care hospitalisations. Care for children with advanced heart disease requires a multidisciplinary approach, and opportunities for earlier integration of palliative care are being explored. This Viewpoint summarises the relevant literature over the past decade. We also identify gaps in parent and provider understanding of prognosis and communication, propose indications for palliative care consultation in paediatric advanced heart disease, and summarise attitudes and perceived barriers to palliative care consultation. Areas for additional research that we identify include paediatric cardiologist education, parental distress, socioeconomic disparities, and patient-reported outcomes. Interdisciplinary clinical and research efforts are required to further advance the field and improve integration of palliative care in the care of children with heart disease.

Research abstracts