Psychosocial Considerations for Children and Young Adolescents with Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators: An Update

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Background:The extension of the life-saving benefits of the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) to prevent sudden cardiac arrest in children and young adults represents a key clinical development. The psychosocial adjustment in young ICD patients has not been as well-studied as in adults and remains an area of needed research.Methods:The current paper reviews the quantitative research regarding ICD patient psychosocial outcomes in the adult and pediatric literature, and highlights existing intervention research on adult ICD patients and its implications for young ICD patients.Results:Literature review indicates that anxiety may be the most problematic psychosocial reaction for young ICD patients, similar to adult patients. Since young ICD patients appear to be more likely to experience shocks than adults; shock-related anxiety is suspected to be particularly common. Interventions in adults have shown a reduction in anxiety but no pediatric intervention studies are currently available in the literature.Conclusion:Additional research and clinical attention is warranted to further assist young ICD patients to achieve desirable quality of life outcomes.(PACE 2009; 32:S80–S82)

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