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(1) To characterise changes in dead space fraction during the first 120 post-operative hours in neonates undergoing stage 1 palliation for hypoplastic left heart syndrome, including hybrid procedure; (2) to document whether dead space fraction varied by shunt type (Blalock–Taussig shunt and Sano) and hybrid procedure; and (3) to determine the association between dead space fraction and outcomes.
Retrospective chart review in neonates undergoing stage 1 palliation for hypoplastic left heart syndrome in a cardiac intensive care unit over a consecutive 30-month period. A linear mixed model was used to determine the differences in dead space over time. Multivariable linear regression and a multivariable linear mixed model were used to assess the association between dead space and outcomes at different time points and over time, respectively.
Thirty-four neonates received either a Blalock–Taussig shunt (20.5%), Sano shunt (59%), or hybrid procedure (20.5%). Hospital mortality was 8.8%. Dead space fractions in patients undergoing the hybrid procedure were significantly lower on day 1 (p = 0.01) and day 2 (p = 0.02) and increased over time. A dead space fraction >0.6 on post-operative days 3–5 was significantly associated with decreased duration of mechanical ventilation in all surgical groups (p < 0.001).
Dead space fraction >0.6 on post-operative days 3–5 was associated with lower duration of mechanical ventilation in all surgical groups. A more comprehensive, prospective assessment of dead space in this delicate patient population would likely be beneficial in improving outcomes.
Dexmedetomidine is an α2-adrenergic agonist that causes sleep-like sedation and mild analgesia without narcosis or respiratory depression, and has relative cardiovascular stability. Due to these properties, it may be an effective agent for prolonged use in the sedation of patients in the paediatric cardiothoracic intensive care unit. We reviewed our experience with the drug to detail its safety and efficacy.
We conducted a retrospective chart review of all patients who received dexmedetomidine over a six month period in a dedicated paediatric cardiothoracic intensive care unit. Patients were identified from pharmacy records showing administration of drugs. We collected demographic data, information relating to doses of dexmedetomidine, physiologic parameters, and clinical outcomes.
We identified 54 patients who received the drug. The median age of recipients was 6 months, with a range from 1 day to 16 years. The mean duration of administration was 37.3 hours, with a range from 2 to 177 hours. The mean duration of continuation of administration after extubation was 16.7 hours, with a range from zero to 112.5 hours. Physiologically, there were no clinically significant changes in mean arterial pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, or saturations of oxygen before, during, or after utilization of the drug. Use of dexmedetomidine significantly reduced the need to administrate narcotics, and scores using the COMFORT system were not different between patients who received dexmedetomidine and those who did not.
In this limited and retrospective review, dexmedetomidine was found to be safe and efficacious. Its use as a sedative agent for extended periods of time in critically-ill children deserves investigation in a prospective and controlled manner.
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