Infant Cardiac Surgery: Mothers Tell Their Story: A Therapeutic Experience

Jennifer Re, Suzanne Dean, Samuel Menahem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Serious congenital heart disease frequently requires major congenital heart surgery. It causes much distress for parents, which may not always be recognized and treated appropriately. As part of a larger study, 26 mothers of two-month-old infants subjected to recent cardiac surgery were interviewed in depth. Each mother was invited to describe her own and what she perceived were her infant's experiences and to comment on the interview process. A systematic content analysis of the interviews was performed using qualitative research methodology. Almost all participants described acute stress symptoms relating to the diagnosis and the infant's surgery. In addition, most mothers reported that the interview helped them to think about and integrate what had happened to them and their infant, suggesting a probable therapeutic value to the interview. A suitably qualified and experienced mental health professional, assisting the mother to tell her story about the diagnosis and her infant's cardiac surgery, may provide a valuable, brief, and very cost-effective therapeutic intervention for these mothers and infants. It has the potential to alleviate maternal distress, with associated gains for the developing mother”infant relationship, reducing infant morbidity, and enhancing the quality of life for both infant and mother.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-285
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • congenital heart disease
  • congenital heart surgery
  • infant
  • morbidity
  • quality of life

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