Prevalence of fatigue in adults with congenital heart disease

Linda Ternrud, Joanna Hlebowicz, Camilla Sandberg, Bengt Johansson, David Sparv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine the prevalence of the multidimensional phenomenon of fatigue in adults with congenital heart disease. Background: Adults with congenital heart disease are a growing population, and patient-reported outcomes can provide valuable information about the patient's experience of living with CHD. Fatigue is a multidimensional phenomenon that can be described as an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion with a reduced capacity of mental and physical work. Fatigue can be observed clinically in adults with congenital heart disease, but the actual prevalence is unknown. Methods: Fatigue was assessed by the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory which enables the respondent to report the presence of fatigue according to five dimensions: "general fatigue,""physical fatigue,""mental fatigue,""reduced motivation,"and "reduced activity."The questionnaire was sent to 463 patients in Lund and Umeå. Four groups with complex CHD and two groups with moderately complex CHD were included. The reliability (internal consistency) of the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory was tested for all dimensions and groups of diagnosis. Results: The response rate was 56.6% (n= 262). In patients with complex CHD, 40.0-59.4% reported severe to very severe general fatigue, and patients with a single ventricle reported the highest prevalence (59.4%). Among patients with complex CHD, 29.2-40.0% reported severe to very severe mental fatigue. The Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory had a high reliability measured with Cronbach's alpha. Conclusions: The study findings show a relatively high prevalence of fatigue in adults with congenital heart disease, and general fatigue was the most prevalent. Further studies are needed regarding fatigue and its causes and consequences in adults with congenital heart disease. Relevance to clinical practice: The Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory proved to be an instrument with high reliability and low internal loss, which suggests that the instrument may be suitable to use as a patient-reported outcome in the care of adults with congenital heart disease, preferably at repeated occasions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1432-1439
JournalCardiology in the Young
Issue number9
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems

Free keywords

  • Adult congenital heart disease
  • experience
  • fatigue
  • multidimensional fatigue inventory-20
  • patient-reported outcome


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