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Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) can face neurodevelopmental, psychological, and behavioural difficulties beginning in infancy and continuing through adulthood. Despite overall improvements in medical care and a growing focus on neurodevelopmental screening and evaluation in recent years, neurodevelopmental disabilities, delays, and deficits remain a concern. The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative was founded in 2016 with the goal of improving neurodevelopmental outcomes for individuals with CHD and pediatric heart disease. This paper describes the establishment of a centralised clinical data registry to standardize data collection across member institutions of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative. The goal of this registry is to foster collaboration for large, multi-centre research and quality improvement initiatives that will benefit individuals and families with CHD and improve their quality of life. We describe the components of the registry, initial research projects proposed using data from the registry, and lessons learned in the development of the registry.
Health-related quality of life in children who have undergone the Ross procedure has not been well characterised. The aim of this study was to characterise health-related quality of life in this cohort and compare to children with other CHD.
In this cross sectional, single-centre study, health-related quality of life was assessed in patients who underwent a non-neonatal Ross procedure using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory. Ross cohort scores were compared with healthy norms, patients with CHD requiring no surgical intervention or had curative surgery (Severity 2, S2) and patients who were surgically repaired with ≥1 surgical procedure and with significant residual lesion or need for additional surgery (Severity 3, S3). Associations between Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory score and patient factors were also examined.
68 patients completed surveys. Nearly one-sixth of patients had overall scores below the cut-off for at-risk status for impaired health-related quality of life. There was no difference in overall health-related quality of life score between the Ross cohort and healthy children (p = 0.56) and S2 cohort (p = 0.97). Health-related quality of life was significantly higher in the Ross cohort compared to S3 cohort (p = 0.02). This difference was driven by a higher psychosocial health-related quality of life in the Ross cohort as compared to S3 cohort (p = 0.007). Anxiety scores were significantly worse in the Ross cohort compared to both S2 (p = 0.001) and S3 (p = 0.0017), respectively.
Children who have undergone a Ross procedure report health-related quality of life equivalent to CHD not requiring therapy and superior to CHD with residual lesions. Despite these reassuring results, providers should be aware of potential anxiety among Ross patients.
To examine the use of early intervention services in infants with CHD after open-heart surgery and identify factors associated with receipt of services.
Surveys were administered to caregivers of infants who underwent open-heart surgery before 1 year of age at a single institution between July, 2017 and July, 2018. Information regarding the infant’s use of early intervention services and the caregiver’s experience with the programme was obtained. Clinical data were retrieved from the medical record review. Logistic regression identified factors associated with receipt of services.
The study included 158 eligible infants. Ninety-eight caregivers (62%) completed the surveys. Of those surveyed, 53.1% of infants were currently or previously enrolled in early intervention services. Infants most frequently received physical therapy (76.9%). The majority of caregivers found services to be moderately/very helpful (92.3%) and sufficient for their child (76.9%). In the univariate analysis, single-ventricle disease, known syndrome/genetic abnormality, extracardiac anomaly, and longer intensive care and hospital length of stay were associated with receipt of services. Single-ventricle disease (p = 0.004) and known syndrome/genetic abnormality (p < 0.0001) remained independently associated with receipt of services in the multivariable analysis.
Amongst infants at risk for neurodevelopmental deficits, approximately half received services after open-heart surgery. Caregivers expressed satisfaction with the programme. While infants with single-ventricle disease and a known syndrome/genetic abnormality were more likely to receive early intervention services, many at-risk infants with CHD failed to receive services. Further research is needed to identify barriers to early intervention services and promote developmental outcomes.
Compared to the general population, individuals with complex congenital heart disease are at increased risk for deficits in cognitive, neurodevelopmental, psychosocial, and physical functioning, resulting in a diminished health-related quality of life. These deficits have been well described over the past 25 years, but significant gaps remain in our understanding of the best practices to improve neurodevelopmental and psychosocial outcomes and health-related quality of life for individuals with paediatric and congenital heart disease. Innovative clinical, quality improvement, and research opportunities with collaboration across multiple disciplines and institutions were needed to address these gaps. The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative was founded in 2016 with a described mission to determine and implement best practices of neurodevelopmental and psychosocial services for individuals and their families with paediatric and congenital heart disease through clinical, quality improvement, and research initiatives. The vision is to be a multi-centre, multi-national, multi-disciplinary group of healthcare professionals committed to working together and partnering with families to optimise neurodevelopmental outcomes for individuals with paediatric and congenital heart disease through clinical, quality, and research initiatives, intending to maximise quality of life for every individual across the lifespan. This manuscript describes the development and organisation of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative.
Over the last two decades, heart centres have developed strategies to meet the neurodevelopmental needs of children with congenital heart disease. Since the publication of guidelines in 2012, cardiac neurodevelopmental follow-up programmes have become more widespread. Local neurodevelopmental programmes, however, have been developed independently in widely varying environments. We sought to characterise variation in structure and personnel in cardiac neurodevelopmental programmes. A 31-item survey was sent to all member institutions of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative. Multidisciplinary teams at each centre completed the survey. Responses were compiled in a descriptive fashion. Of the 29 invited centres, 23 responded to the survey (79%). Centres reported more anticipated neurodevelopment visits between birth and 5 years of age (median 5, range 2–8) than 5–18 years (median 2, range 0–10) with 53% of centres lacking any standard for routine neurodevelopment evaluations after 5 years of age. Estimated annual neurodevelopment clinic volume ranged from 85 to 428 visits with a median of 16% of visits involving children >5 years of age. Among responding centres, the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development and Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence were the most routinely used tests. Neonatal clinical assessment was more common (64%) than routine neonatal brain imaging (23%) during hospitalisation. In response to clinical need and published guidelines, centres have established formal cardiac neurodevelopment follow-up programmes. Centres vary considerably in their approaches to routine screening and objective testing, with many centres currently focussing their resources on evaluating younger patients.
Neurodevelopmental impairment is increasingly recognised as a potentially disabling outcome of CHD and formal evaluation is recommended for high-risk patients. However, data are lacking regarding the proportion of eligible children who actually receive neurodevelopmental evaluation, and barriers to follow-up are unclear. We examined the prevalence and risk factors associated with failure to attend neurodevelopmental follow-up clinic after infant cardiac surgery.
Survivors of infant (<1 year) cardiac surgery at our institution (4/2011-3/2014) were included. Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics were evaluated in neurodevelopmental clinic attendees and non-attendees in univariate and multivariable analyses.
A total of 552 patients were included; median age at surgery was 2.4 months, 15% were premature, and 80% had moderate–severe CHD. Only 17% returned for neurodevelopmental evaluation, with a median age of 12.4 months. In univariate analysis, non-attendees were older at surgery, had lower surgical complexity, fewer non-cardiac anomalies, shorter hospital stay, and lived farther from the surgical center. Non-attendee families had lower income, and fewer were college graduates or had private insurance. In multivariable analysis, lack of private insurance remained independently associated with non-attendance (adjusted odds ratio 1.85, p=0.01), with a trend towards significance for distance from surgical center (adjusted odds ratio 2.86, p=0.054 for ⩾200 miles).
The majority of infants with CHD at high risk for neurodevelopmental dysfunction evaluated in this study are not receiving important neurodevelopmental evaluation. Efforts to remove financial/insurance barriers, increase access to neurodevelopmental clinics, and better delineate other barriers to receipt of neurodevelopmental evaluation are needed.
Children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are at a risk for neurodevelopmental delays. Current guidelines recommend systematic evaluation and management of neurodevelopmental outcomes with referral for early intervention services. The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial represents the largest cohort of children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome ever assembled. Data on life events and resource utilisation have been collected annually. We sought to determine the type and prevalence of early intervention services used from age 1 to 4 years and factors associated with utilisation of services.
Data from 14-month neurodevelopmental assessment and annual medical history forms were used. We assessed the impact of social risk and geographic differences. Fisher exact tests and logistic regression were used to evaluate associations.
Annual medical history forms were available for 302 of 314 children. Greater than half of the children (52–69%) were not receiving services at any age assessed, whereas 20–32% were receiving two or more therapies each year. Utilisation was significantly lower in year 4 (31%) compared with years 1–3 (with a range from 40 to 48%) (p<0.001). Social risk factors were not associated with the use of services at any age but there were significant geographic differences. Significant delay was reported by parents in 18–43% of children at ages 3 and 4.
Despite significant neurodevelopmental delays, early intervention service utilisation was low in this cohort. As survival has improved for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, attention must shift to strategies to optimise developmental outcomes, including enrolment in early intervention when merited.
Large volumes of data and multiple computing platforms are now universal components of paediatric cardiovascular medicine, but are in a constant state of evolution. Often, multiple sets of related data reside in disconnected “silos”, resulting in clinical, administrative, and research activities that may be duplicative, inefficient, and at times inaccurate. Comprehensive and integrated data solutions are needed to facilitate these activities across congenital heart centres. We describe methodology, key considerations, successful use cases, and lessons learnt in developing an integrated data platform across our congenital heart centre.
Fontan survivors have depressed cardiac index that worsens over time. Serum biomarker measurement is minimally invasive, rapid, widely available, and may be useful for serial monitoring. The purpose of this study was to identify biomarkers that correlate with lower cardiac index in Fontan patients.
Methods and results
This study was a multi-centre case series assessing the correlations between biomarkers and cardiac magnetic resonance-derived cardiac index in Fontan patients ⩾6 years of age with biochemical and haematopoietic biomarkers obtained ±12 months from cardiac magnetic resonance. Medical history and biomarker values were obtained by chart review. Spearman’s Rank correlation assessed associations between biomarker z-scores and cardiac index. Biomarkers with significant correlations had receiver operating characteristic curves and area under the curve estimated. In total, 97 cardiac magnetic resonances in 87 patients met inclusion criteria: median age at cardiac magnetic resonance was 15 (6–33) years. Significant correlations were found between cardiac index and total alkaline phosphatase (−0.26, p=0.04), estimated creatinine clearance (0.26, p=0.02), and mean corpuscular volume (−0.32, p<0.01). Area under the curve for the three individual biomarkers was 0.63–0.69. Area under the curve for the three-biomarker panel was 0.75. Comparison of cardiac index above and below the receiver operating characteristic curve-identified cut-off points revealed significant differences for each biomarker (p<0.01) and for the composite panel [median cardiac index for higher-risk group=2.17 L/minute/m2 versus lower-risk group=2.96 L/minute/m2, (p<0.01)].
Higher total alkaline phosphatase and mean corpuscular volume as well as lower estimated creatinine clearance identify Fontan patients with lower cardiac index. Using biomarkers to monitor haemodynamics and organ-specific effects warrants prospective investigation.
The aim of this review is to describe the current state of knowledge related to neurodevelopmental outcomes and quality of life for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and to explore future questions to be answered for this group of children.
The outlook for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome has dramatically improved over the past two decades. Universally fatal only 25 years ago, since that time outcomes for staged palliation have shown consistent improvement. Recent reports show that eight to nine patients from every ten can now leave the hospital after the Norwood procedure.1 Attrition following the Norwood procedure, nonetheless, remains significant, with from five to fifteen percent of patients dying between the first and second stages of the Norwood sequence.1–4 Only three-quarters of the patients undergoing surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome survive after five years, even at the centres reporting the best outcomes for the Norwood procedure.1,5 In addition to the deaths, some patients are unable to progress through the three stages of reconstruction, and may require cardiac transplantation, or have no options for further therapy. There are many causes for these mortalities and morbidities following the Norwood procedure, including elevated pulmonary vascular resistance, cardiac arrhythmias, coronary arterial insufficiency, right ventricular failure, right ventricular volume overload due to shunt-dependent physiology, and tricuspid valvar regurgitation. Many of these factors are interrelated, and may form feedback loops, which serve to propagate their adverse effects on patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
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