Born with a heart condition: the clinical implications of Polyvagal theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Being born with a heart condition presents increased vulnerability to a number of psychosocial difficulties, including anxiety, depression, developmental delay, infant feeding oral motor problems, which have previously been accounted for by secondary factors. Here, I propose Porges' Poly Vagal Theory offers a more holistic account. Since the heart is central to our nervous system congenital cardiac anomalies may compromise Neuroception which could account for some of these psychosocial difficulties. This has implications across the lifespan providing strategies to optimise normal development of social defensive behaviours inform to therapeutic interventions, explored here drawing on psychological theories personal experience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies
EditorsStephen W. Porges, Deb Dana
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherW. W. Norton & Company
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781324000501
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • poly vagal theory
  • congenital heart disease
  • psychocardiology
  • medical psychology
  • social engagment system
  • psychology
  • psychology(all)


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