Managing uncertainty in decision-making of common congenital cardiac defects Academic Article uri icon

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  • AbstractDecision-making in congenital cardiac care, although sometimes appearing simple, may prove challenging due to lack of data, uncertainty about outcomes, underlying heuristics, and potential biases in how we reach decisions. We report on the decision-making complexities and uncertainty in management of five commonly encountered congenital cardiac problems: indications for and timing of treatment of subaortic stenosis, closure or observation of small ventricular septal defects, management of new-onset aortic regurgitation in ventricular septal defect, management of anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery in an asymptomatic patient, and indications for operating on a single anomalously draining pulmonary vein. The strategy underpinning each lesion and the indications for and against intervention are outlined. Areas of uncertainty are clearly delineated. Even in the presence of “simple” congenital cardiac lesions, uncertainty exists in decision-making. Awareness and acceptance of uncertainty is first required to facilitate efforts at mitigation. Strategies to circumvent uncertainty in these scenarios include greater availability of evidence-based medicine, larger datasets, standardised clinical assessment and management protocols, and potentially the incorporation of artificial intelligence into the decision-making process.


  • McMahon, Colin J
  • Sendžikaitė, Skaistė
  • Jegatheeswaran, Anusha
  • Cheung, Yiu-Fai
  • Majdalany, David S
  • Hjortdal, Vibeke
  • Redington, Andrew N
  • Jacobs, Jeffrey P
  • Asoodar, Maryam
  • Sibbald, Matthew
  • Geva, Tal
  • van Merrienboer, Jeroen JG
  • Tretter, Justin T

publication date

  • November 2022