Adult Congenital Heart Disease-Coping And REsilience (ACHD-CARE): Rationale and methodology of a pilot randomized controlled trial

Adrienne H. Kovacs, Mimi Bandyopadhyay, Sherry L. Grace, Amanda C. Kentner, Robert P. Nolan, Candice K. Silversides, M. Jane Irvine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction: One-third of North American adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) have diagnosable mood or anxiety disorders and most do not receive mental health treatment. There are no published interventions targeting the psychosocial needs of patients with CHD of any age. We describe the development of a group psychosocial intervention aimed at improving the psychosocial functioning, quality of life, and resilience of adults with CHD and the design of a study protocol to determine the feasibility of a potential full-scale randomized controlled trial (RCT). Methods/design: Drawing upon our quantitative and qualitative research, we developed the Adult CHD-Coping And REsilience (ACHD-CARE) intervention and designed a feasibility study that included a 2-parallel arm non-blinded pilot RCT. Eligible participants (CHD, age ≥. 18. years, no planned surgery, symptoms suggestive of a mood and/or anxiety disorder) were randomized to the ACHD-CARE intervention or Usual Care (1:1 allocation ratio). The group intervention was delivered during eight 90-minute weekly sessions. Feasibility will be assessed in the following domains: (i) process (e.g. recruitment and retention), (ii) resources, (iii) management, (iv) scientific outcomes, and (v) intervention acceptability. Discussion: This study underscores the importance of carefully developing and testing the feasibility of psychosocial interventions in medical populations before moving to full-scale clinical trials. At study conclusion, we will be poised to make one of three determinations for a full-scale RCT: (1) feasible, (2) feasible with modifications, or (3) not feasible. This study will guide the future evaluation and provision of psychosocial treatment for adults with CHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Depression
  • Feasibility
  • Intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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