Why Children with Congenital Heart Disease Need Neurodevelopmental Follow Up

Congenital Heart Disease

While the number of children living with congenital heart disease (CHD) is increasing, research shows these children have a greater risk for developmental disorders and delays.

So, what can be done? According to a statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Periodic developmental surveillance, screening, evaluation, and reevaluation throughout childhood may enhance identification of significant deficits, allowing for appropriate therapies and education to enhance later academic, behavioral, psychosocial, and adaptive functioning.”

At Children’s National Health System, we started the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome (CANDO) Program to provide developmental evaluations from infancy through adolescence for children with congenital heart disease. The program’s goal is to identify key stress points in a child’s development early on and to provide families with recommendations and a treatment plan, in coordination with a child’s pediatrician and cardiologist. 

In this video, Children’s National’s Jacqueline Sanz, PhD, shares her insight on these guidelines urging neurodevelopmental follow up for children with congenital heart disease. Sanz also provides more specific details about the CANDO Program and its developmental evaluations.