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A Japanese female infant with trisomy 18 was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome variant. She was administered oral prostaglandin E1 every 6 hours through a feeding tube as an alternative drug for lipo-prostaglandin E1. Oral prostaglandin E1 was effective for maintenance of the ductus arteriosus and may serve as a palliative treatment approach.
Although chylothorax is an uncommon complication following paediatric cardiothoracic surgery, it has significant associated morbidities and increased in-hospital mortality, as well as results in higher costs. A lack of prospective evidence or consensus guidelines for management of chylothorax further hinders optimal management. The aim of this survey was to characterise variations in practice in the management of chylothorax and to identify areas for future research.
Materials and methods:
A descriptive, observational survey investigating conservative management practices of chylothorax was distributed internationally to health-care professionals in paediatric intensive care and cardiology units. The survey investigated five domains: the first providing general information about health-care professionals and four domains focusing on clinical practice including diet composition and duration.
In total, sixty-four health-care professionals completed the survey, representing 38 organisations from 16 countries. The respondents were dietitians (80%), physicians (19%), and nurses (1%). In Australia and New Zealand, management was most commonly directed by physicians’ preference (67%) as compared to unit protocols in Europe (67%), United States of America (67%), and Other regions (55%). Dietitians in Australia/New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Ireland followed the most restrictive diet therapy recommending <5 g long chain triglyceride fat per day (p < 0.00001). The duration of diet therapy significantly varied between regions: Australia/New Zealand: 4 weeks (36%) and 6 weeks (43%); Europe: 4 weeks (25%) and 6 weeks (57%); and North America: 4 weeks (18%) and 6 weeks (75%) (p < 0.00001).
This survey highlights international variations in practice in the management of chylothorax, particularly with respect to treatment duration and dietary fat restriction. Future research should include a multi-centre randomised controlled trial to inform evidence-based practice and reduce morbidity, particularly poor growth.
Recent years have seen an exponential increase in the variety of healthcare data captured across numerous sources. However, mechanisms to leverage these data sources to support scientific investigation have remained limited. In 2013 the Pediatric Heart Network (PHN), funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, developed the Integrated CARdiac Data and Outcomes (iCARD) Collaborative with the goals of leveraging available data sources to aid in efficiently planning and conducting PHN studies; supporting integration of PHN data with other sources to foster novel research otherwise not possible; and mentoring young investigators in these areas. This review describes lessons learned through the development of iCARD, initial efforts and scientific output, challenges, and future directions. This information can aid in the use and optimisation of data integration methodologies across other research networks and organisations.
Infants with CHD often experience growth failure. Ensuring optimal growth before surgery is associated with improved outcomes and has emerged as a significant cause of parental stress. Parents have reported a perceived lack of accessible feeding information for infants with CHD. To address this gap, the aim of this study was to develop feeding information to better support parents.
Materials and methods:
A search for existing material on six electronic databases and an internet search for unpublished (grey) literature on feeding information for infants with CHD were carried out. Following the development of feeding information, semi-structured interview(s) with parents/health-care professionals were completed, focusing on whether the information was easy to understand, relevant, provided sufficient information around feeding/feeding difficulties, and whether there were any information gaps. Iterative changes were made to the information following each interview. The process was completed until thematic saturation was achieved.
A total of 23 unique articles were identified of which 5 studies were included. From the grey literature, four web pages were reviewed. A total of 22 parents and 25 health-care professionals were interviewed. All parents/health-care professionals felt that the feeding information developed provided sufficient information; however, many wanted information on how to introduce complementary food, particularly if weaning was delayed.
This study describes the development of feeding information for infants with CHD. From parent interviews, gaps identified focused on the introduction of complementary foods and uncertainty regarding the feeding journey beyond surgery.
We present a case of pulmonary venous baffle obstruction in a child with a history of congenitally corrected transposition status post double switch repair. We highlight two forms of volume rendering three-dimensional reconstructions from computed tomographic data which allowed for detailed pre-surgical planning. These reconstructions emphasise the concept of maximizing previously obtained two-dimensional data in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner. The benefits of these reconstructions are reviewed, highlighting the relatively novel virtual dissection reconstruction technique that appeared identical to what the surgeon encountered in the operating theatre. This technique allowed the surgeon to quickly advance a preconceived detailed surgical repair.
To report on the first 5 years of establishment of fetal echocardiographic services at the Jordan University Hospital with emphasis on diagnosis and outcome.
A retrospective chart review was conducted on all fetal echocardiographic studies performed between January 2011 and December 2015. Data collected included maternal demographics, referral indications, fetal cardiac diagnosis, correlation to post-natal diagnosis, outcome of pregnancy including pre-mature delivery and perinatal mortality. Basic statistical analysis was performed including demographic analysis, and calculation of fetal echocardiographic sensitivity and specificity.
A total of 208 fetuses underwent fetal echocardiographic evaluation at a mean gestational age of 26.5 (±5) weeks. The most common referral indication was a suspicion of CHD during the obstetric ultrasound (44.2%), followed by cardiac dysfunction (18.2%), and a family history of CHD (14.9%). Fetal echocardiography showed CHD in 71 fetuses (34%), heart failure in 26 (12.5%), arrhythmia in 9 (4.3%), and intracardiac masses in 2. In the remaining 100 fetuses (48%), fetal echocardiography showed normal evaluation. For detecting CHD, fetal echocardiography had a sensitivity and specificity of 91.7% and 95.4%, respectively. Perinatal mortality including termination of pregnancy, intrauterine fetal death, and neonatal mortality was highest in heart failure (77%), and was 41% for CHD.
The fetal cardiac diagnostic services at the Jordan University Hospital have encouraging initial results with a relatively high sensitivity and specificity. The services further positively impacted the quality of counselling offered and facilitated pre- and post-natal management.
To describe the impact of CHD surgery in early childhood on quality of life in children aged 10–16 years with surgically corrected Ventricular Septal Defect, Transposition of the Great Arteries, and Tetralogy of Fallot.
A cross-sectional survey study of quality of life survey on 161 children and adolescents aged 10–16 years with surgically corrected Ventricular Septal Defect, Transposition of the Great Arteries, and Tetralogy of Fallot. The international Paediatric Quality of Life 4.0 quality of life questionnaires were applied and collected for assessment from patients and parents. The endpoints were total, physical, emotional, social, and school quality of life scores.
The quality of life total and school scores was significantly lower in children with CHD than their healthy peers. There was no significant difference in quality of life between the three CHD groups. All three CHD groups had a significantly lower total (7.7–13.2%, p<0.001) and school scores (21.1–31.6%, p<0.001) than the control group. The tetralogy of Fallot group was the only group that had significantly lower scores in the physical subscale (p<0.001) than the controls.
Children and adolescents with surgically corrected CHD show losses in quality of life in total and school scores compared to healthy controls. The tetralogy of Fallot group was the only CHD group that had significantly lower physical score than the controls.
The initial classic Fontan utilising a direct right atrial appendage to pulmonary artery anastomosis led to numerous complications. Adults with such complications may benefit from conversion to a total cavo-pulmonary connection, the current standard palliation for children with univentricular hearts.
A single institution, retrospective chart review was conducted for all Fontan conversion procedures performed from July, 1999 through January, 2017. Variables analysed included age, sex, reason for Fontan conversion, age at Fontan conversion, and early mortality or heart transplant within 1 year after Fontan conversion.
A total of 41 Fontan conversion patients were identified. Average age at Fontan conversion was 24.5 ± 9.2 years. Dominant left ventricular physiology was present in 37/41 (90.2%) patients. Right-sided heart failure occurred in 39/41 (95.1%) patients and right atrial dilation was present in 33/41 (80.5%) patients. The most common causes for Fontan conversion included atrial arrhythmia in 37/41 (90.2%), NYHA class II HF or greater in 31/41 (75.6%), ventricular dysfunction in 23/41 (56.1%), and cirrhosis or fibrosis in 7/41 (17.1%) patients. Median post-surgical follow-up was 6.2 ± 4.9 years. Survival rates at 30 days, 1 year, and greater than 1-year post-Fontan conversion were 95.1, 92.7, and 87.8%, respectively. Two patients underwent heart transplant: the first within 1 year of Fontan conversion for heart failure and the second at 5.3 years for liver failure.
Fontan conversion should be considered early when atrial arrhythmias become common rather than waiting for severe heart failure to ensue, and Fontan conversion can be accomplished with an acceptable risk profile.
Concerns exist over the long-term consequences of subclavian artery ligation in subclavian flap repair for coarctation of the aorta. We sought to analyse upper limb structural and functional performance in adults who have had surgery in childhood for coarctation of the aorta, using either subclavian flap repair or end to end aortic anastomosis.
Two-group observational design using anatomical and upper limb functional performance measures. Purposive sampling from our specialist adult congenital heart disease database of patients who received subclavian flap repair or end to end anastomosis for coarctation of the aorta as children. Upper limb measurements were completed using MRI and blood flow velocity with ultrasound imaging. Bilateral standardised upper limb functional testing of assessment of strength, dexterity and a standardised self-report of upper limb disability was completed.
Eighteen right-handed patients, 9 with subclavian repair, (38 ± 12 years, 78% males) were studied. Age at repair was 4.7 ± 5.9 years; mean time from initial repair 32 ± 9 years. The subclavian group had a larger difference between right and left when compared the end to end anastomosis group in: lower arm muscle mass (94.5 ± 42.3 mls versus 37.8 ± 94.5 mls, p = 0.008), lower arm maximal cross-sectional area, (5.9 ± 2.8 cm2 versus 2.9 ± 2.6 cm2, p = 0.038) and grip strength (14.7 ± 8.3 lbs versus 5.9 ± 5.3 lbs, p = 0.016) There were no significant functional differences between groups.
In adults with repaired coarctation of the aorta, those with subclavian flap repair had a greater right to left arm muscle mass and grip strength differential when compared to those with end to end anastomosis repair.
Patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernias often have concomitant congenital heart disease (CHD), with small left-sided cardiac structures as a frequent finding. The goal of this study is to evaluate which left-sided heart structures are affected in neonates with congenital diaphragmatic hernias.
Retrospective review of neonates between May 2007 and April 2015 with a diagnosis of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia was performed. Clinical and echocardiographic data were extracted from the electronic medical record and indexed to body surface area and compared to normative values. Univariable regression models assessed for associations between different variables and length of stay.
Data of 52 patients showed decreased mean z scores for the LVIDd (–3.16), LVIDs (–3.05), aortic annulus (–1.68), aortic sinuses (–2.11), transverse arch (–3.11), and sinotubular junction (–1.47) with preservation of the aorta at the diaphragm compared to age-matched normative data with similar body surface areas. Regression analysis showed a percent reduction in length of stay per 1 mm size increase for LVIDd (8%), aortic annulus (27%), aortic sinuses (18%), sinotubular junctions (20%), and transverse arches (25%).
Patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernias have significantly smaller left-sided heart structures compared to age-matched normative data. Aortic preservation at the diaphragm provides evidence for a mass effect aetiology with increased right-to-left shunting at the fetal ductus resulting in decreased size. Additionally, length of stay appears to be prolonged with decreasing size of several of these structures. These data provide quantitative evidence of smaller left-sided heart structures in patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernias.
Advances in biomedical engineering have led to three-dimensional (3D)-printed models being used for a broad range of different applications. Teaching medical personnel, communicating with patients and relatives, planning complex heart surgery, or designing new techniques for repair of CHD via cardiac catheterisation are now options available using patient-specific 3D-printed models. The management of CHD can be challenging owing to the wide spectrum of morphological conditions and the differences between patients. Direct visualisation and manipulation of the patients’ individual anatomy has opened new horizons in personalised treatment, providing the possibility of performing the whole procedure in vitro beforehand, thus anticipating complications and possible outcomes. In this review, we discuss the workflow to implement 3D printing in clinical practice, the imaging modalities used for anatomical segmentation, the applications of this emerging technique in patients with structural heart disease, and its limitations and future directions.
Aneurysms of the pulmonary arteries and trunk are rare entities. The Waterston shunt is a palliative procedure for children with cyanotic CHD due to obstruction of the pulmonary outflow. Described complications are distortion of the pulmonary artery and pulmonary arterial hypertension. We report a patient with a giant right pulmonary artery aneurysm in relation to a Waterston shunt.
Interstage mortality causes are often unknown in infants with shunt-dependent univentricular defects. For 2 years, screening catheterisation was encouraged before neonatal discharge to determine if routine evaluation improved interstage outcomes.
Retrospective single-centre review of home monitoring programme from December, 2010 to June, 2012. Composite scores were created for physical examination/echocardiography risk factors; catheterisation risk factors; and interstage adverse events. Composite scores were compared between usual care and screening catheterisation groups. The ability of each risk factor composite to predict interstage adverse events, individually and in combination, was assessed with sensitivity, specificity, and receiver operating characteristic curves.
There were 27 usual care and 32 screening catheterisation patients. There were no significant differences between groups except rates of catheterisation before discharge (29.6 versus 100%, p < 0.001). Usual care patients who underwent catheterisation for clinical indications had higher intervention rates (37.5 versus 3.1%, p = 0.004). Physical examination/echocardiography risk factor frequency was similar, but usual care patients with catheterisation had a higher catheterisation risk factor frequency. Interstage adverse event frequency was similar (48.2 versus 53.1%, p = 0.7). For interstage adverse event prediction, sensitivity for the physical examination/echocardiography, catheterisation, and either risk factor composites was 53.3, 72, and 80%, respectively; specificity was 59, 60, and 48%. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.56, 0.66, and 0.64.
Screening catheterisation evaluation offered slightly increased sensitivity and specificity, but no difference in interstage adverse event frequency. Given this small advantage versus known risks, screening catheterisations are no longer encouraged.
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.
Cardiopulmonary exercise testing has been used to measure functional capacity in children who have undergone a heart transplant. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing results have not been compared between children transplanted for a primary diagnosis of CHD and those with a primary diagnosis of cardiomyopathy despite differences in outcomes. This study is aimed to compare cardiopulmonary exercise testing performance between these two groups.
Patients who underwent heart transplant with subsequent cardiopulmonary exercise testing at least 6 months after transplant at our institution were identified. They were then divided into two groups based on primary cardiac diagnosis: CHD or cardiomyopathy. Patient characteristics, echocardiograms, cardiac catheterisations, outcomes, and cardiopulmonary exercise test results were compared between the two groups.
From the total of 35 patients, 15 (43%) had CHD and 20 (57%) had cardiomyopathy. Age at transplant, kidney disease, lung disease, previous rejection, coronary vasculopathy, catheterisation, and echocardiographic data were similar between the groups. Mean time from transplant to cardiopulmonary exercise testing, exercise duration, and maximum oxygen consumption were similar in both groups. There was a difference in heart rate response with CHD heart rate response of 63 beats per minute compared to cardiomyopathy group of 78 (p = 0.028). Patients with CHD had more chronotropic incompetence than those with cardiomyopathy (p = 0.036).
Primary diagnosis of CHD is associated with abnormal heart rate response and more chronotropic incompetence compared to those transplanted for cardiomyopathy.
To analyse the feasibility and effectiveness in humanitarian practice of surgical management of children with single-ventricle heart condition.
Retrospective study of children with a single ventricle, managed by the association Mécénat-Chirurgie Cardiaque since 1996, with long-term follow-up after their return home.
Of the 138 children in our cohort, 119 had one or more surgeries (180 procedures): palliative surgery alone (systemic-pulmonary anastomosis or banding), 41; partial cavo-pulmonary connection, 47; total cavo-pulmonary connection (mean age 8.5 years), 31. Operative mortality is 5.5%. After a mean follow-up of 5.6 years, 18 children (13%) were lost to follow-up. Survival at 10 years is 79% in children receiving surgery (palliative only, 72%; partial cavo-pulmonary connection, 77%; total cavo-pulmonary connection, 97%) versus 29% in children with no surgical intervention. The prognosis is better for tricuspid atresia and double-inlet left ventricle (86 and 83% survival at 10 years) than for double-outlet right ventricle or complete atrio-ventricular canal defect (64 and 68% at 5 years).
The surgery of the single ventricle in humanitarian medicine allows a very satisfactory survival after one or more surgeries tending towards a total cavo-pulmonary connection as soon as possible.
Surgery for CHD has been slow to develop in parts of the former Soviet Union. The impact of an 8-year surgical assistance programme between an emerging centre and a multi-disciplinary international team that comprised healthcare professionals from developed cardiac programmes is analysed and presented.
Material and methods
The international paediatric assistance programme included five main components – intermittent clinical visits to the site annually, medical education, biomedical engineering support, nurse empowerment, and team-based practice development. Data were analysed from visiting teams and local databases before and since commencement of assistance in 2007 (era A: 2000–2007; era B: 2008–2015). The following variables were compared between periods: annual case volume, operative mortality, case complexity based on Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery (RACHS-1), and RACHS-adjusted standardised mortality ratio.
A total of 154 RACHS-classifiable operations were performed during era A, with a mean annual case volume by local surgeons of 19.3 at 95% confidence interval 14.3–24.2, with an operative mortality of 4.6% and a standardised mortality ratio of 2.1. In era B, surgical volume increased to a mean of 103.1 annual cases (95% confidence interval 69.1–137.2, p<0.0001). There was a non-significant (p=0.84) increase in operative mortality (5.7%), but a decrease in standardised mortality ratio (1.2) owing to an increase in case complexity. In era B, the proportion of local surgeon-led surgeries during visits from the international team increased from 0% (0/27) in 2008 to 98% (58/59) in the final year of analysis.
The model of assistance described in this report led to improved adjusted mortality, increased case volume, complexity, and independent operating skills.
To identify interstage best practices associated with lower mortality, we studied National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative centres registry using a positive deviance approach.
Positive deviant and control centre team members were interviewed to identify potential interstage best practices. Subsequently, all collaborative centres were surveyed on the use of these practices to test their associations with centre mortality. Questionnaires were scored using Likert scales; the overall score was linearly transformed to a 0–100-point scale with higher scores indicating increased use of practices. Mortality was based on patients enrolled after a centre’s first year in the collaborative. Centre mortality rates were divided into tertiles. Survey scores for the low mortality tertile were compared with the other tertiles.
For this study, seven positive deviant and four control teams were interviewed. A total of 20 potential best practices were identified, including team composition, improvement practices, and parent involvement. Questionnaires were completed by 36/43 eligible centres, providing 1504 patients for analysis. Average survey score was 50.2 (SD 13.4). Average mortality was 6.1% (SD 4.1). There was no correlation between survey scores and mortality (r=0.14, p=0.41). The one practice associated with the low mortality tertile was frequency of discussion of interstage results: 58.3% of low mortality teams discussed results at least monthly versus 8.4% of the middle and high tertile centres (p=0.02).
Low-mortality centres more frequently discuss interstage results than high-mortality centres. Heightened awareness of outcomes may influence practice; however, further study is needed to understand the variation in outcomes across centres.
Congenital and acquired heart diseases are highly prevalent in developing countries despite limited specialised care. Namibia established a paediatric cardiac service in 2009 with significant human resource and infrastructural constraints. Therefore, patients are referred for cardiac interventions to South Africa.
To describe the diagnoses, clinical characteristics, interventions, post-operative morbidity and mortality, and follow-up of patients referred for care.
Demographics, diagnoses, interventions, intra- and post-operative morbidity and mortality, as well as longitudinal follow-up data of all patients referred to South Africa, were recorded and analysed.
The total cohort constituted 193 patients of which 179 (93%) had CHD and 7% acquired heart disease. The majority of patients (78.8%) travelled more than 400 km to Windhoek before transfer. There were 28 percutaneous interventions. Palliative and definitive surgery was performed in 27 and 129 patients, respectively. Out of 156 patients, 80 (51.3%) had post-operative complications, of which 15 (9.6%) were a direct complication of surgery. Surgical mortality was 8/156 (5.1%, 95% confidence interval 2.2–9.8), with a 30-day mortality of 3.2%. Prolonged ICU stay was associated with a 5% increased risk of death with hazard ratio 1.05, 95% confidence interval 1.02–1.08, p=0.001. Follow-up was complete in 151 (78%) patients for more than 7 years.
Despite the challenges associated with a cardiac programme for referring patients seeking intervention in a neighbouring country and the adverse characteristics of multiple lesions and complexity associated with late presentation, we report good surgical and interventional outcomes. Our goal remains to develop a comprehensive sustainable cardiac service in Namibia.
Previous cross-sectional studies have demonstrated obesity rates in children with CHD and the general paediatric population. We reviewed longitudinal data to identify factors predisposing to the development of obesity in children, hypothesising that age may be an important risk factor for body mass index growth.
Retrospective electronic health records were reviewed in all 5–20-year-old CHD patients seen between 2011 and 2015, and in age-, sex-, and race/ethnicity-matched controls. Subjects were stratified into aged cohorts of 5–10, 11–15, and 15–20. Annualised change in body mass index percentile (BMI%) over this period was compared using paired Student’s t-test. Linear regression analysis was performed with the CHD population.
A total of 223 CHD and 223 matched controls met the inclusion criteria for analysis. Prevalence of combined overweight/obesity did not differ significantly between the CHD cohort (24.6–25.8%) and matched controls (23.3–29.1%). Univariate analysis demonstrated a significant difference of BMI% change in the age cohort of 5–10 (CHD +4.1%/year, control +1.7%/year, p=0.04), in male sex (CHD +1.8%/year, control −0.3%/year, p=0.01), and status-post surgery (CHD 2.03%/year versus control 0.37%, p=0.02). Linear regression analysis within the CHD subgroup demonstrated that age 5–10 years (+4.80%/year, p<0.001) and status-post surgery (+3.11%/year, p=0.013) were associated with increased BMI% growth.
Prevalence rates of overweight/obesity did not differ between children with CHD and general paediatric population over a 5-year period. Longitudinal data suggest that CHD patients in the age cohort 5–10 and status-post surgery may be at increased risk of BMI% growth relative to peers with structurally normal hearts.