Approaching End-of-Life Decisions in Adults with Congenital Heart Disease.
PURPOSE: Despite tremendous advances in medical and surgical care, some adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD) develop terminal conditions where therapy is limited. This paper reviews the important role of palliative care, advance care planning (ACP), and end-of-life (EOL) care in ACHD. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent studies suggest that ACP is infrequently utilized in ACHD. Patients generally express interest in learning more about EOL care, though few ACHD providers have received adequate training to confidently conduct these discussions. Most barriers to communication are largely addressable, and an organized approach to ACP that encourages active patient participation followed by clear documentation is more likely to be successful. Palliative care appears complementary to standard medical care and can be introduced at any stage of illness, with proven benefit in similar patient populations. ACP is an important part of the routine care for all ACHD. Patient preferences should be identified early and palliative methods incorporated whenever necessary.
Krasuski, MR; Serfas, JD; Krasuski, RA
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