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Paediatricians with Expertise in Cardiology assess children with a full history, examination, and often perform an echocardiogram. A minority are then referred to an outreach clinic run jointly with a visiting paediatric cardiologist. The accuracy of the echocardiography diagnosis made by the Paediatrician with Expertise in Cardiology is unknown.
Materials and methods
We conducted a retrospective review of clinic letters for children seen in the outreach clinic for the first time between March, 2004 and March, 2011. Children with CHD diagnosed antenatally or elsewhere were excluded. We recorded the echocardiography diagnosis made by the paediatric cardiologist and previously by the Paediatrician with Expertise in Cardiology.
The Paediatrician with Expertise in Cardiology referred 317/3145 (10%) children seen in the local cardiac clinics to the outreach clinic over this period, and among them 296 were eligible for inclusion. Their median age was 1.5 years (range 1 month–15.1 years). For 244 (82%) children, there was complete diagnostic agreement between the Paediatrician with Expertise in Cardiology and the paediatric cardiologist. For 29 (10%) children, the main diagnosis was identical with additional findings made by the paediatric cardiologist. The abnormality had resolved in 17 (6%) cases by the time of clinic attendance. In six (2%) patients, the paediatric cardiologist made a different diagnosis. In total, 138 (47%) patients underwent a surgical or catheter intervention.
Paediatricians with Expertise in Cardiology can make accurate diagnoses of CHD in children referred to their clinics. This can allow effective triage of children attending the outreach clinic, making best use of limited specialist resources.
Surgical ligation of patent ductus arteriosus is considered when medical treatment fails or is contraindicated. This study aims to determine the mortality and morbidity of preterm neonates referred for patent ductus arteriosus ligation.
A prospective study was conducted in the East of England to follow the outcome of premature infants under 37 weeks’ gestation undergoing patent ductus arteriosus ligation. A standardised proforma was used to collect information before and after the procedure.
A total of 102 premature infants were recruited, and patent ductus arteriosus ligation was performed in 92. Surgical complications occurred in 8.7% (8/92), which included pneumothorax (5/8), recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy (2/8), and chylothorax (1/8). Morbidity outcome data were not available for all infants. The incidence of chronic lung disease was 88% (88/99); intraventricular haemorrhage was 49% (49/100); necrotising enterocolitis 39% (39/99), and retinopathy of prematurity 42% (41/97). The overall mortality rate in our study was 7.8% (8/102). Mortality rate in infants who had patent ductus arteriosus ligation was 4.3% (4/92). The 30-day survival rate after ligation was 99% (91/92). Beyond 30 days post-ligation, three infants died from other causes that were not directly related to surgery.
Patent ductus arteriosus ligation in premature infants is associated with low mortality and complication rates; however, there is a high incidence of neonatal morbidity. Surgical capacity for patent ductus arteriosus ligation needs to be carefully planned nationally as the duration of “waiting time” and transport to another surgical centre could adversely affect outcomes in this high-risk population.
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