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Parents’ Perspectives on Counseling for Fetal Heart Disease: What Matters Most?

Department of Pediatric and Congenital Cardiology, Heidelberg University Hospital, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Institute of Preventive Pediatrics, Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, Technical University of Munich, 80992 Munich, Germany
German Heart Center Munich, Department of Pediatric Cardiology and Congenital Heart Defects, 80636 Munich, Germany
Max Weber Institute for Sociology, Ruprecht Karls University Heidelberg, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Heidelberg University Hospital, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Klinikum Rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, 81675 Munich, Germany
Institute of Medical Sociology and Rehabilitation Science, Charité University Medicine Berlin,10117 Berlin, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Patrick De Boever and Ardan Muammer Saguner
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(1), 278;
Received: 9 November 2021 / Revised: 9 December 2021 / Accepted: 23 December 2021 / Published: 5 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Childhood and Adolescence)
After diagnosis of congenital heart disease (CHD) in the fetus, effective counseling is considered mandatory. We sought to investigate which factors, including parental social variables, significantly affect counseling outcome. A total of n = 226 parents were recruited prospectively from four national tertiary medical care centers. A validated questionnaire was used to measure counseling success and the effects of modifiers. Multiple linear regression was used to assess the data. Parental perception of interpersonal support by the physician (β = 0.616 ***, p = 0.000), counseling in easy-to-understand terms (β = 0.249 ***, p = 0.000), and a short period of time between suspicion of fetal CHD, seeing a specialist and subsequent counseling (β = 0.135 **, p = 0.006) significantly improve “overall counseling success”. Additional modifiers (e.g., parental native language and age) influence certain subdimensions of counseling such as “trust in medical staff” (language effect: β = 0.131 *, p = 0.011) or “perceived situational control” (age effect: β = 0.166 *, p = 0.010). This study identifies independent factors that significantly affect counseling outcome overall and its subdimensions. In combination with existing recommendations our findings may contribute to more effective parental counseling. We further conclude that implementing communication skills training for specialists should be considered essential. View Full-Text
Keywords: fetal cardiology; parental counseling; social science; parental needs fetal cardiology; parental counseling; social science; parental needs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kovacevic, A.; Wacker-Gussmann, A.; Bär, S.; Elsässer, M.; Mohammadi Motlagh, A.; Ostermayer, E.; Oberhoffer-Fritz, R.; Ewert, P.; Gorenflo, M.; Starystach, S. Parents’ Perspectives on Counseling for Fetal Heart Disease: What Matters Most? J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11, 278.

AMA Style

Kovacevic A, Wacker-Gussmann A, Bär S, Elsässer M, Mohammadi Motlagh A, Ostermayer E, Oberhoffer-Fritz R, Ewert P, Gorenflo M, Starystach S. Parents’ Perspectives on Counseling for Fetal Heart Disease: What Matters Most? Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2022; 11(1):278.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kovacevic, Alexander, Annette Wacker-Gussmann, Stefan Bär, Michael Elsässer, Aida Mohammadi Motlagh, Eva Ostermayer, Renate Oberhoffer-Fritz, Peter Ewert, Matthias Gorenflo, and Sebastian Starystach. 2022. "Parents’ Perspectives on Counseling for Fetal Heart Disease: What Matters Most?" Journal of Clinical Medicine 11, no. 1: 278.

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