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The Residual Lesion Score is a novel tool for assessing the achievement of surgical objectives in congenital heart surgery based on widely available clinical and echocardiographic characteristics. This article describes the methodology used to develop the Residual Lesion Score from the previously developed Technical Performance Score for five common congenital cardiac procedures using the RAND Delphi methodology.
A panel of 11 experts from the field of paediatric and congenital cardiology and cardiac surgery, 2 co-chairs, and a consultant were assembled to review and comment on validity and feasibility of measuring the sub-components of intraoperative and discharge Residual Lesion Score for five congenital cardiac procedures. In the first email round, the panel reviewed and commented on the Residual Lesion Score and provided validity and feasibility scores for sub-components of each of the five procedures. In the second in-person round, email comments and scores were reviewed and the Residual Lesion Score revised. The modified Residual Lesion Score was scored independently by each panellist for validity and feasibility and used to develop the “final” Residual Lesion Score.
The Residual Lesion Score sub-components with a median validity score of ≥7 and median feasibility score of ≥4 that were scored without disagreement and with low absolute deviation from the median were included in the “final” Residual Lesion Score.
Using the RAND Delphi methodology, we were able to develop Residual Lesion Score modules for five important congenital cardiac procedures for the Pediatric Heart Network’s Residual Lesion Score study.
The aim of this study was to explore perinatal and early postnatal outcomes in fetuses with prenatally diagnosed d-transposition of the great arteries and impacts of standardised prenatal consultation.
All fetuses with prenatally diagnosed d-transposition of the great arteries prospectively enrolled at South China cardiac centre from 2011 to 2015. Standardised prenatal consultation was introduced in 2013 and comprehensive measures were implemented, such as establishing fetal CHD Outpatient Consultation Service, performing standard prenatal consultation according to specifications, and establishing a multidisciplinary team with senior specialists performing in-person consultations. Continuous follow-up investigation was conducted. Perinatal and postnatal outcomes were compared before and after consultation including live birth, elective termination of pregnancy, spontaneous fetal death, stillbirths, referral for surgery, and survival.
In all, 146 fetuses were enrolled with 41 (28%) lost to follow-up. Among 105 remaining fetuses, 29 (28%) were live births and 76 (72%) were terminated. After consultation, live birth rate was higher (50 versus 33%) and termination rate was lower (50 versus 76%), although there was no statistical significance. Excluding three live births without postnatal d-transposition of the great arteries, 65% (17/26) underwent arterial switch operation within 30 days. A total of three in-hospital deaths occurred and during the 10-month follow-up period, one death was observed. In one case, the switch procedure was performed at 13 months and the infant survived. Out of eight infants without arterial switch operation, two died.
Live birth rate increased after consultation; however, termination remained high. Combining termination, patients without arterial switch operation, and operative mortality, outcomes of d-transposition of the great arteries infants can be improved. Standard consultation, multidisciplinary collaboration, and improved perinatal care are important to improve outcomes.
With improvements in early survival following congenital heart surgery, it has become increasingly important to understand longer-term outcomes; however, routine collection of these data is challenging and remains very limited. We describe the development and initial results of a collaborative programme incorporating standardised longitudinal follow-up into usual care at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and University of Michigan (UM).
We included children undergoing benchmark operations of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Considerations regarding personnel, patient/parent engagement, funding, regulatory issues, and annual data collection are described, and initial follow-up rates are reported.
The present analysis included 1737 eligible patients undergoing surgery at CHOP from January 2007 to December 2014 and 887 UM patients from January 2010 to December 2014. Overall, follow-up data, of any type, were obtained from 90.8% of patients at CHOP (median follow-up 4.3 years, 92.2% survival) and 98.3% at UM (median follow-up 2.8 years, 92.7% survival), with similar rates across operations and institutions. Most patients lost to follow-up at CHOP had undergone surgery before 2010. Standardised questionnaires assessing burden of disease/quality of life were completed by 80.2% (CHOP) and 78.4% (UM) via phone follow-up. In subsequent pilot testing of an automated e-mail system, 53.4% of eligible patients completed the follow-up questionnaire through this system.
Standardised follow-up data can be obtained on the majority of children undergoing benchmark operations. Ongoing efforts to support automated electronic systems and integration with registry data may reduce resource needs, facilitate expansion across centres, and support multi-centre efforts to understand and improve long-term outcomes in this population.
Despite many advances in recent years for patients with critical paediatric and congenital cardiac disease, significant variation in outcomes remains across hospitals. Collaborative quality improvement has enhanced the quality and value of health care across specialties, partly by determining the reasons for variation and targeting strategies to reduce it. Developing an infrastructure for collaborative quality improvement in paediatric cardiac critical care holds promise for developing benchmarks of quality, to reduce preventable mortality and morbidity, optimise the long-term health of patients with critical congenital cardiovascular disease, and reduce unnecessary resource utilisation in the cardiac intensive care unit environment. The Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC4) has been modelled after successful collaborative quality improvement initiatives, and is positioned to provide the data platform necessary to realise these objectives. We describe the development of PC4 including the philosophical, organisational, and infrastructural components that will facilitate collaborative quality improvement in paediatric cardiac critical care.
A complication is an event or occurrence that is associated with a disease or a healthcare intervention, is a departure from the desired course of events, and may cause, or be associated with, suboptimal outcome. A complication does not necessarily represent a breech in the standard of care that constitutes medical negligence or medical malpractice. An operative or procedural complication is any complication, regardless of cause, occurring (1) within 30 days after surgery or intervention in or out of the hospital, or (2) after 30 days during the same hospitalization subsequent to the operation or intervention. Operative and procedural complications include both intraoperative/intraprocedural complications and postoperative/postprocedural complications in this time interval.
The MultiSocietal Database Committee for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease has set forth a comprehensive list of complications associated with the treatment of patients with congenital cardiac disease, related to cardiac, pulmonary, renal, haematological, infectious, neurological, gastrointestinal, and endocrinal systems, as well as those related to the management of anaesthesia and perfusion, and the transplantation of thoracic organs. The objective of this manuscript is to examine the definitions of operative morbidity as they relate specifically to the haematological system and to infectious complications. These specific definitions and terms will be used to track morbidity associated with surgical and transcatheter interventions and other forms of therapy in a common language across many separate databases.
The MultiSocietal Database Committee for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease has prepared and defined a near-exhaustive list of haematological and infectious complications. Within each subgroup, complications are presented in alphabetical order. Clinicians caring for patients with congenital cardiac disease will be able to use this list for databases, quality improvement initiatives, reporting of complications, and comparing strategies for treatment.
The complexity of the modern systems providing health care presents a unique challenge in delivering care of the required quality in a safe environment. Issues of safety have been thrust into the limelight because of adverse events highly publicized in the general media.
In the United States of America, improving the safety and quality in health care has been set forth as a priority for improvements in the 21st century in the report from the Institute of Medicine. Many measures have now been initiated for improving the safety of patients at hospital, regional, and national level, and through initiatives sponsored by governments and private organizations. In this review, we summarize known concepts and current issues on the safety of patients, and their applicability to children with congenital cardiac disease. Prior to examining the issues of medical error and safety, it is important to define the terminology.
An error is defined as the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended, also known as an execution error, or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim, this representing a planning error. An active error is an error that occurs at the level of the frontline operator, and the effects of which are felt immediately. A latent error is an error in the design, organization, training and maintenance, that leads to operator errors, and the effects of which are typically dormant in the system for lengthy periods of time. Latent errors may cause harm given the right circumstances and environment.
An adverse event is defined as an injury resulting from medical intervention. A preventable adverse event is an adverse event that occurs due to medical error. Negligent adverse events are a subset of preventable adverse events where the care provided did not meet the standard of care expected of that practitioner.
The study of improving the delivery of safe care for our patients is a rapidly growing field. Important components for development of programmes to improve the safety of patients include the leadership for the programme, the implementation of process design based on human limitations, the promotion of teamwork and function, the anticipation of unexpected events, and the creation of a learning environment.
Much is yet to be learned about the risk and incidence of adverse events during hospitalization of children with congenital cardiac disease. Errors due to human factors, such as poor communication, poor coordination, and suboptimal team work, have shown to be important causes of adverse outcomes in children undergoing cardiac surgery, and should be a focus for improvement. Future research on evaluating causes and prevention of medical errors and adverse events in this population at high risk, and consuming high resources, is essential.
Issues of inadequate safeguards for patients have been prominent in the media, and have been highlighted in reports from the Institute of Medicine. Our review discusses research on the causes of medical error, and proposes concepts to design successful programmes to improve safety for the patients on a local level.
Variability in practice can be considered to foster clinical innovation, and allow for individualized therapeutic plans and independence of practitioners. The Institute of Medicine, however, has issued a report suggesting that variability in patterns of practice are “illogical”, and should be avoided whenever possible. Perhaps nowhere in the field of congenital cardiac disease is variability in practice more apparent than in the management of hypoplastic left heart syndrome. This review assesses the variability in practice at a large number of centres that manage neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, with an emphasis on practice before, during, and after the first stage of the Norwood sequence of operations. We also suggest changes in future strategies for research.
In March, 2007, colleagues were contacted to respond to an internet-based survey using commercially available software (www.surveymonkey.com) to collect responses about the management practices for neonates with “straight-forward” hypoplastic left heart syndrome. No attempt was made to correlate management practices with any measures of outcome, as neither the practices themselves, nor the outcomes of interest, could be externally validated. Data is reported from 52 centers thought to manage over 1000 neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome on an annual basis. The first stage of the Norwood sequence was “recommended” to families by approximately five-sixths (86.5%) of the centres. No centre recommended primary cardiac transplantation, a “hybrid” approach, or non-intervention. In 7 centres (14.5%), it was reported that there was discussion of some or all of the above options, but ultimately the families decided upon the appropriate strategy.
Most centres preferentially used antegrade cerebral perfusion (54%) in contrast to deep hypothermia with circulatory arrest (24%), albeit that 11% of centres used a combination of these techniques and in 9% the support strategy was based on surgeon preference. The source of flow of blood for the lungs following the first stage of reconstruction was also highly variable. Of the 51 centres that responded to the question, 13 (25.5%) were participating in a multi-centric randomized clinical trial comparing the modified Blalock-Taussig shunt to the conduit placed from the right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries, the so-called “Sano” modification. Of the remaining 38 centres, 18 “usually” placed a conduit from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery, 14 “usually” placed a modified Blalock-Taussig shunt, and at six centres, the decision was made “based upon the preference of the surgeon and/or the cardiologist”. Similarly, significant variability in practice was evident in preoperative management, other surgical strategies, postoperative medical support, monitoring and discharge planning. Other than the randomized clinical trial of shunt type, no other medical or surgical management strategy was currently under investigation in a multi-centric or randomized trial in the centres who responded to the survey.
The survey emphasises the extreme variability in our current practices for treatment of children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. While there are some areas for which there is consensus in management, the majority of our practices are variable between and within centres. These results emphasize that large multicentric trials and registries are necessary to improve care, and to answer important clinical questions, emphasizing the need to shift from analysis of experiences of single centres to multi-centric and multi-disciplinary collaboration.
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.
The congenital cardiac malformation characterized by discordant connections between the atriums and ventricles, as well as those between the ventricles and the arterial trunks, has been given many names. The terms atrioventricular discordance, l-transposition of the great arteries, ventricular inversion, and congenitally corrected transposition have all been used. Regardless of terminology, this complex congenital anomaly has only recently been studied to analyze the long-term effects of its natural history and outcomes following traditional surgical repair of the associated malformations which serve to uncorrect the circulatory pathways. As more patients survive into adulthood, the effects of this condition are now better understood, and the surgical approaches used in the past are being re-examined in light of longer-term follow up.
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