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We developed the Long-term Early Development Research (LEADER) project to investigate the development of children with CHD and/or after cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Both populations are at risk for delays in motor, cognitive, and language development. However, few studies to date have investigated the longitudinal development in these children.
To establish a clinical research unit, we planned three studies: a cross-sectional study in children after cardiopulmonary resuscitation (LEADER-REA Pilot Study), a longitudinal study in children after cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with a focus on evaluating various biomarkers as predictors for developmental outcome (LEADER-CPR study), and a longitudinal study in children with ventricular septal defect, tetralogy of Fallot, or transposition of the great arteries after cardiac surgery (LEADER-CHD study).
Implementation of all three LEADER studies was successful and study protocols were conducted as planned. Findings from the LEADER-REA Pilot study have been recently published and data collection for both prospective trials is ongoing. Descriptive analysis of the first 20 assessments of the LEADER-CHD study showed no severe deficits in overall cognitive, motor, and language developments in the children.
Children with CHD and/or after cardiopulmonary resuscitation are at risk for developmental delay. Therefore, a detailed developmental assessment is necessary as a pre-requisite for individual developmental support. Our LEADER project has been shown to be feasible in a clinical setting and is the first step towards the establishment of a clinical research unit in our clinic with a focus on longitudinal research.