International Journal of Cardiology vol:121 issue:1 pages:30-35
BACKGROUND: Although sexual problems in cardiac patients are receiving increasing attention, research on sexual functioning of patients with congenital heart disease is very scarce. Therefore, this study investigated sexual functioning in adults with congenital heart disease and compared this with that of matched, healthy control subjects. METHODS: A descriptive, comparative study was conducted, in which 441 adults with congenital heart disease were matched to 441 healthy counterparts, according to age, gender, and marital status. The sample consisted of 53.5% males. Median age was 24 years. Disease-specific determinants of quality of life were assessed using the CHD-TAAQOL. This 77-item instrument includes five items referring to sexual problems. For each item, both the perceived frequency and the associated distress were scored. RESULTS: Sexual problems were perceived by 10% to 20% of the patients. When these problems occurred, they were distressing in 67% to 88% of the patients. Female patients reported significantly more often 'not enjoying having sex', 'being insecure about having sex', and 'not being aroused while having sex', and experienced more distress at 'being insecure about having sex' than male patients. Congenital heart disease patients reported significantly fewer 'not enjoying having sex' and 'worrying about your sex life' than healthy counterparts, but experienced more distress at 'worrying about your sex life'. CONCLUSION: In this study, we found that only a minority of adults with congenital heart disease reported sexual problems. This suggests that sexual functioning in this group of patients is not as problematic as in some other cardiac populations.