Electronic Mental Health Screening in a Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Clinic

R. Butts, C. Anton, N. BaezHernandez, M. Bano, D. Sutcliffe, K. Tripplett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Mental health disorders have deleterious effects on outcomes in adult heart failure. Mental health is not systematically investigated or screened in pediatric heart failure and transplantation patients. METHODS: Our institution implemented universal mental health screening for all patients age 11 or older in our pediatric heart failure and transplant clinic. 17 items are answered on a tablet while the patient awaits cardiac testing. Validated mental health screening tools are utilized: the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7). Scores for both scales range from 0-4 = no symptoms, 5-9 = mild symptoms, 10-14 = moderate symptoms, >15 = severe symptoms. Scores are immediately available in the electronic health record. The presence of suicidal ideation, severe depression and/or anxiety leads to notification of the psychologist for further intervention. RESULTS: 94 patients have been screened to date. Median age was 16.25 years (IQR 14.7-18.4). Median PHQ-9 score was 2 (IQR 0-6) and 2 (IQR 0-5.3) for GAD-7. Four patients (4.3%) reported severe depression, 8 (8.5%) moderate depression, 15 (16%) mild, 67 (71.3%) reported no depressive symptoms. Seven patients reported suicidal ideation (7.5%). Six patients (6.4%) reported severe anxiety, 8 (8.5%) moderate anxiety, 14 (14.9%) mild anxiety and 66 (70.2%) reported no anxiety. There were no differences in mental health scores between heart failure and transplant patients (Table 1). Eighteen new behavioral health interventions were implemented due to screening. CONCLUSION: Electronic mental health screening can successfully be employed in pediatric heart failure and transplant clinics. A significant portion have moderate to severe anxiety (14.9%) or moderate to severe depression (12.8%). Mental health screening has led to many behavioral health interventions in this population. Our initial experience supports the use of mental health screening in a pediatric heart failure and transplant clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S130
JournalThe Journal of heart and lung transplantation : the official publication of the International Society for Heart Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Transplantation

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