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Prematurity impacts myocardial development and may determine long-term outcomes. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that preterm neonates develop right ventricle dysfunction and adaptive remodelling by 32 weeks post-menstrual age that persists through 1 year corrected age.
Materials and Methods:
A subset of 80 preterm infants (born <29 weeks) was selected retrospectively from a prospectively enrolled cohort and measures of right ventricle systolic function and morphology by two-dimensional echocardiography were assessed at 32 weeks post-menstrual age and at 1 year of corrected age. Comparisons were made to 50 term infants at 1 month and 1 year of age. Sub-analyses were performed in preterm-born infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and/or pulmonary hypertension.
In both term and preterm infants, right ventricle function and morphology increased over the first year (p < 0.01). The magnitudes of right ventricle function measures were lower in preterm-born infants at each time period (p < 0.01 for all) and right ventricle morphology indices were wider in all preterm infants by 1 year corrected age, irrespective of lung disease. Measures of a) right ventricle function were further decreased and b) morphology increased through 1 year in preterm infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and/or pulmonary hypertension (p < 0.01).
Preterm infants exhibit abnormal right ventricle performance with remodelling at 32 weeks post-menstrual age that persists through 1 year corrected age, suggesting a less developed intrinsic myocardial function response following preterm birth. The development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and pulmonary hypertension leave a further negative impact on right ventricle mechanics over the first year of age.
Anthracycline chemotherapeutic agents carry the well-recognised risk of cardiac toxicity. The aim of this study was to determine the long-term effect of anthracycline chemotherapy on the biventricular function in childhood cancer survivors using tissue Doppler imaging and two-dimensional speckle tracking echocardiography.
Patients and Methods:
The study included 45 survivors of childhood cancers and 50 healthy age-matched control patients. Cardiac function was prospectively studied with conventional echocardiography, tissue Doppler imaging, and speckle tracking echocardiography after completion of treatment. The same analysis was performed on matched controls.
There was no difference in age, gender, height, and weight between the study and control groups. The mean anthracycline dose was 240 ± 106 mg/m2 and the mean remission duration was 8.2 ± 5 years (1–20 years) in the study group. Conventional echocardiography showed similar ejection fraction, shortening fraction, and left ventricle end-diastolic diameter in both groups. Mitral lateral and septal tissue Doppler imaging showed normal but according to control group relatively sub-normal systolic and diastolic function in patient group. The global longitudinal and circumferential strain and strain rates were significantly lower in the patient group compared to control group. Correlation analysis revealed a negative and significant correlation between total anthracycline dose and global longitudinal and circumferential strain and strain rates.
Sub-clinical systolic and diastolic dysfunction may not be detected by conventional echocardiographic methods which are frequently used in daily practice. Sub-clinical systolic and diastolic dysfunction may be detected more sensitively by echocardiographic method such as speckle tracking echocardiography in childhood cancer survivors.
Elevated left ventricular end diastolic pressure is a risk factor for ventricular arrhythmias in patients with tetralogy of Fallot. The objective of this retrospective study was to identify echocardiographic measures associated with left ventricular end diastolic pressure >12 mmHg in this population. Repaired tetralogy of Fallot patients age ≥13 years, who underwent a left heart catheterisation within 7 days of having an echocardiogram were evaluated. Univariate comparison was made in echocardiographic and clinical variables between patients with left ventricular end diastolic pressure >12 versus ≤12 mmHg. Ninety-four patients (54% male) with a median age of 24.6 years were included. Thirty-four (36%) had left ventricular end diastolic pressure >12 mmHg. Patients with left ventricular end diastolic pressure >12mmHg were older (median 32.9 versus 24.0 years, p = 0.02), more likely to have a history of an aortopulmonary shunt (62% versus 38%, p = 0.03), and have a diagnosis of hypertension (24% versus 7%, p = 0.03) compared to those with left ventricular end diastolic pressure ≤12 mmHg. There were no significant differences in mitral valve E/A ratio, annular e’ velocity, or E/e’ ratio between patients with left ventricular end diastolic pressure >12 versus ≤12 mmHg. Patients with left ventricular end diastolic pressure >12mmHg had larger left atrial area (mean 17.7 versus 14.0 cm2, p = 0.03) and larger left atrium anterior–posterior diameter (mean 36.0 versus 30.6 mm, p = 0.004). In conclusion, typical echocardiographic measures of left ventricular diastolic dysfunction may not be reliable in tetralogy of Fallot patients. Prospective studies with the use of novel echocardiographic measures are needed.
In patients with CHD after Fontan palliation, there is a lack of a pumping chamber in the pulmonary circulation; thus, pulmonary blood flow and cardiac output are sensitive to increased pulmonary vascular resistance; if obstructive sleep apnoea is present, there are legitimate concerns from continuous positive airway pressure ventilation, which may hinder pulmonary blood flow.
Significant inter-centre variability in the intensity of endomyocardial biopsy surveillance for rejection following paediatric cardiac transplantation has been reported. Our aim was to determine if low-intensity biopsy surveillance with two scheduled biopsies in the first year would produce outcomes similar to published registry outcomes.
A retrospective study of paediatric recipients transplanted between 2008 and 2014 using a low-intensity biopsy protocol consisting of two surveillance biopsies at 3 and 12–13 months in the first post-transplant year, then annually thereafter. Additional biopsies were performed based on echocardiographic and clinical surveillance. Excluded were recipients that were re-transplanted or multi-organ transplanted or were followed at another institution.
A total of 81 recipients in the first 13 months after transplant underwent an average of 2 (SD ± 1.3) biopsies, 24 ± 6.8 echocardiograms, and 17 ± 4.4 clinic visits per recipient. During the 13-month period, 19 recipients had 24 treated rejection episodes, with the first at an average of 2.8 months post-transplant. The 3-, 12-, 36-, and 60-month conditional on discharge graft survival were 100%, 98.8%, 98.8%, and 90.4%, respectively, comparable to reported figures in major paediatric registries. At a mean follow-up of 4.7 ± 2.1 years, four patients (4.9%) developed cardiac allograft vasculopathy, three (3.7%) developed a malignancy, and seven (8.6%) suffered graft loss.
Rejection surveillance with a low-intensity biopsy protocol demonstrated similar intermediate-term outcomes and safety measures as international registries up to 5 years post-transplant.
Respiratory syncytial virus infection is the most frequent cause of acute lower respiratory tract disease in infants. A few reports have suggested that pulmonary hypertension is associated with increased severity of respiratory syncytial virus infection. We sought to determine the association between the pulmonary hypertension detected by echocardiography during respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis and clinical outcomes.
We retrospectively reviewed 154 children admitted with respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis who had an echocardiography performed during the admission. The association between pulmonary hypertension and clinical outcomes including mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, prolonged ICU stay (>10 days), tracheal intubation, and need of high frequency oscillator ventilation was evaluated.
Echocardiography detected pulmonary hypertension in 29 patients (18.7%). Pulmonary hypertension was observed more frequently in patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) (n = 11/33, 33%), chronic lung disease of infancy (n = 12/25, 48%), prematurity (<37 weeks gestational age, n = 17/59, 29%), and Down syndrome (n = 4/10, 40%). The presence of pulmonary hypertension was associated with morbidity (p < 0.001) and mortality (p = 0.02). However, in patients without these risk factors (n = 68), pulmonary hypertension was detected in five patients who presented with shock or poor perfusion. Chronic lung disease was associated with pulmonary hypertension (OR = 5.9, 95% CI 2.2–16.3, p = 0.0005). Multivariate logistic analysis demonstrated that pulmonary hypertension is associated with ICU admission (OR = 6.4, 95% CI 2.2–18.8, p = 0.0007), intubation (OR = 4.7, 95% CI 1.8–12.3, p = 0.002), high frequency oscillator ventilation (OR = 8.4, 95% CI 2.95–23.98, p < 0.0001), and prolonged ICU stay (OR = 4.9, 95% CI 2.0–11.7, p = 0.0004).
Pulmonary hypertension detected by echocardiography during respiratory syncytial virus infection was associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Chronic lung disease was associated with pulmonary hypertension detected during respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis. Routine echocardiography is not warranted for previously healthy, haemodynamically stable patients with respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis.
Transposition of the great arteries is the most common cyanotic cardiac lesion in newborns. Transposition of the great arteries without surgical correction is fatal during the first year of life. Contemporary outcome studies have shown that survival rates after surgery are excellent and most patients live to adulthood.
Woman with complex transposition of the great arteries with atrial and ventricular septal defects and subvalvular and valvular pulmonary stenosis, who has survived until the age of 31 years without surgery. The diagnosis was made by echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance. She underwent successful corrective surgical treatment after this age, by means of a Jatene operation.
In transposition of the great arteries patients, a high index of cases dies in the first month of life. Our case represents a natural history of the complex transposition of the great arteries. Non-invasive imaging studies are very useful for the diagnosis and follow-up of patients with transposition of the great arteries, especially echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance. In our case, the multimodality approach and the corrective surgery allowed her to survive.
Challenges remain in the judgement of pathological murmurs in newborns at maternity hospitals, and there are still many simple major CHD patients in developing countries who are not diagnosed in a timely fashion. This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of cardiac auscultation on neonatal CHD by general paediatricians.
We conducted a prospective study at three hospitals. All asymptomatic newborns underwent auscultation, pulse oximetry monitoring, and echocardiography. Major CHD was classified and confirmed through follow-up. We evaluated the accuracy of various degrees of murmurs for detecting major CHD to determine the most appropriate standards and time of auscultation.
A total of 6750 newborns were included. The median age of auscultation was 43 hours. Cardiac murmurs were identified in 6.6% of newborns. For all CHD, 44.4% had varying degrees of murmurs. A murmur of grade ≥2 used as a reference standard for major CHD had a sensitivity of 89.58%. The false positive rate of murmurs of grade ≥2 for detecting major CHD was significantly negatively related to auscultation time, with 84.4% of false positives requiring follow-up for non-major CHD cardiac issues. Auscultation after 27 hours of life could reduce the false positive rate of major CHD from 2.7 to 0.9%.
With appropriate training, maternity hospital’s paediatricians can detect major CHD with high detection rates with an acceptable false positive rate.
We present the second reported case of left pulmonary artery sling with dextrocardia, right pulmonary hypoplasia, and total pulmonary venous connection in a fetus. This case highlights the importance of the determination of pulmonary artery arrangement by fetal echocardiography if right pulmonary hypoplasia and/or congenital heart disease is suspected.
A shorter umbilical venous approach provides an opportunity for balloon atrial septostomy in the younger neonate as opposed to those who present at the end of first week of life. However, the ideal choice of access for a bedside balloon atrial septostomy is not well established. Wouldn’t prostaglandin infusion be a safer option for transport of babies with dextro-transposition in the neonatal period, when the arterial duct can be kept open? A prenatal diagnosis of dextro-transposition facilitates monitoring and planning of septostomy in the early neonatal period explaining why babies underwent bedside procedures more often.
Cor triatriatum sinister is a rare congenital abnormality, with varying signs and symptoms related to the anatomic features and the components of the accompanying cardiac abnormalities. We present a 3-year-old girl who underwent successful simultaneous operation with complete loss of the membrane and ligation of vertical vein by anomalous venous return. The principles for surgical management of cor triatriatum can be summarised as radical resection of the membrane and correction of other intracardiac anomalies.
We present a pilot case using an innovative fusion of echocardiogram and MRI achieved with a MATLAB-based imaging programme to explore the feasibility of this imaging strategy in the functional and anatomic assessment of a patient with repaired tetralogy of Fallot requiring pulmonary valve intervention. Echocardiogram and MRI neutralises the disadvantages and limitations of each individual imaging modality and yields important anatomic and haemodynamic information crucial to the treatment decision-making process. Future image fusion strategies can apply to three-dimensional images and image-directed therapy for CHD.
For one-third of the Peruvian population living in large cities outside the capital city Lima, there is no access to paediatric cardiology services provided by the public health care system. Children with suspected CHD living in these areas are referred to the adult cardiologist working at the regional hospitals for care and treatment. This is a consequence of the universal health care system and the heavily skewed distribution of the health care workforce towards the capital city of Lima. This imbalance has resulted in a severe shortage of paediatric cardiologists practicing outside of Lima and the adult cardiologists that remain are left to make up for this deficit.
To gain a better understanding of the current model of care for children with suspected CHD within the public health care system in Peru, we surveyed adult cardiologists from four major urban centres that serve one-third of the Peruvian population outside of Lima. We determined that adult cardiologists spend a significant amount of time treating children, but lack the specialised training and equipment to provide model care. The cardiologists indicated that receiving additional training and appropriate equipment would help enable them to provide proper care for these children.
Steroids are used in the treatment of acute rheumatic fever with moderate-to-severe carditis. Corticosteroids have several cardiovascular side affects that are more common in adults than in children. Corticosteroid-related bradycardia is a rarely seen side effect. Children with bradycardia following oral corticosteroid use are rarely reported previously. We present a child who developed bradycardia after oral corticosteroid treatment and concurrent Wolff–Parkinson–White pattern.
Aberrant right subclavian artery is the most common congenital aortic arch anomaly. There are a few reports concerning the clinical manifestations and follow-up of this CHD detected by echocardiographic screening.
A total of 1737 full-term neonates, with a male-to-female ratio of 900:837, received echocardiographic screening. Neonates with or without isolated aberrant right subclavian artery were studied during infancy.
Among the 1737 cases, a total of 15 (0.86%) female-predominant neonates, with a male-to-female ratio of 6:9, had isolated aberrant right subclavian artery. They were compared with 20 age- and gender-matched normal neonates. There were no significant differences in maternal age, gestational age, or para gravity between the two groups, except for birth size (birth length- and weight-for-age percentiles, p = 0.006 and 0.045, respectively), which was smaller in the aberrant right subclavian artery group. Although there were no significant differences in developmental history, gastrointestinal, or respiratory symptoms, neonates with aberrant right subclavian artery had a higher incidence of mild developmental delay and feeding difficulty than normal infants (21 versus 0%, p = 0.061; 36 versus 20%, p = 0.264, respectively). The growth rates of body length and weight during infancy were not significantly different between the two groups.
Echocardiography can be applied as a first-line investigation in the diagnostic work-up for aberrant right subclavian artery. Neonates with aberrant right subclavian artery had a smaller size at birth, although growth rates were not significantly different from those of normal infants. This study does not support an active surgical policy for asymptomatic infants with isolated aberrant right subclavian artery. A larger study and longer follow-up of affected infants is recommended.
Although transthoracic echocardiography is the dominant imaging modality in CHD, optimal utilisation is unclear. We assessed whether adherence to the paediatric Appropriate Use Criteria for outpatient transthoracic echocardiography could reduce inappropriate use without missing significant cardiac disease.
Using the Appropriate Use Criteria, we determined the indication and appropriateness rating for each initial echocardiogram performed at our institution during calendar year 2014 (N=1383). Chart review documented ordering provider training, patient demographics, and study result, classified as normal, abnormal, or abnormal motivating treatment within a 2-year follow-up period. We tested whether provider training level or patient age correlated with echocardiographic findings or appropriateness rating.
We found that 83.9% of echocardiograms were normal and that 66.7% had an appropriate indication. Nearly all abnormal results and all results motivating treatment were in appropriate studies, giving an odds ratio of 2.73 for an abnormal result if an appropriate indication was present (95% confidence interval 1.92–3.89, p<0.001). None of the remaining initial abnormal results with less than appropriate indications became significant, resulting in treatment over 2 years. Results suggest a potential reduction in imaging volume of as much as 33% with application of the criteria. Cardiologists ordered nearly all studies resulting in treatment but also more echocardiograms with less appropriate indications. Most examinations were in older patients; however, most abnormal results were in patients younger than 1 year.
The Appropriate Use Criteria can be used to safely reduce echocardiography volume while still detecting significant heart disease.
This study aimed to investigate the relationship of epicardial fat thickness with severity of obstructive sleep apnoea, and clinical and polysomnographic parameters, and to determine independent predictors for epicardial fat thickness.
A total of 84 patients with a body mass index of less than 30 kg/m2 and suspected sleep-disordered breathing were included in the study. The correlations of epicardial fat thickness with polysomnographic and clinical data, and severity of obstructive sleep apnoea, were investigated.
Mean epicardial fat thickness was 3.75 ± 1.07 mm in the study group (n = 62) and 2.97 ± 0.62 mm in the control group (n = 22) (p < 0.001). There were significant positive correlations between epicardial fat thickness and: apnoea/hypopnoea index, oxygen desaturation index 3 and minimum oxygen saturation, as well as with age, body mass index, and neck and waist circumferences.
Non-obese obstructive sleep apnoea patients have thicker epicardial fat compared to controls. Oxygen desaturation index 3 has a strong correlation with epicardial fat thickness and is an independent predictor of it.
The objective of this study was to compare the preoperative management and outcome of neonates with duct-dependent critical CHD with fetal versus postnatal diagnosis.
Patients referred with CHD to our centre from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010 were enrolled prospectively. Live births with a critical form of CHD, a gestational age ⩾36 weeks and a weight ⩾2 kg at birth, and the intention-to-treat were included in this sub-study. Excluded were neonates with lethal non-cardiac and/or genetic anomalies.
In total, 129, 63 fetal and 66 postnatal, cases met the study inclusion criteria. All had received appropriate antenatal care, including a routine fetal anatomy scan. Both cohorts were comparable in weight, gestational age, and APGAR scores at birth. Unlike the postnatal cases, there were no deaths (0/63 versus 5/66; p=0.06) and no cardiac arrests (0/63 versus 9/63; p=0.003) before surgery or catheter intervention in those cases with a prenatal diagnosis of critical CHD. Moreover, newborns with fetal diagnoses were admitted earlier (median 0 (range 0–3) versus 2 (0–25) days; p<0.001) and were less likely to require preoperative ventilation (19/63 versus 31/61, p=0.03) and vasoactive medication (4/63 versus 15/61, p=0.006) than the postnatal cases.
Prenatal diagnosis of critical CHD in this study was associated with significantly shorter time intervals from birth to neonatal admission and the absence of life-threatening or fatal preoperative cardiac events. Increased efforts should be made to improve rates of prenatal diagnosis.
Simulation is used in many aspects of medical training but less so for echocardiography instruction in paediatric cardiology. We report our experience with the introduction of simulator-based echocardiography training at Weill Cornell Medicine for paediatric cardiology fellows of the New York–Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia University and Weill Cornell Medicine. Knowledge of CHD and echocardiographic performance improved following simulation-based training. Simulator training in echocardiography can be an effective addition to standard training for paediatric cardiology trainees.
A previously healthy 21-month-old presented with new-onset dilated cardiomyopathy. Evaluation noted pulsus alternans, with beat-to-beat alternations in aortic pulse wave amplitude, both clinically and on diagnostic studies. Pulsus alternans is an infrequent, complex pathophysiologic sign often associated with severe heart failure. The mechanisms are incompletely understood, but theorised aetiologies include beat-to-beat changes in left ventricular loading conditions, variations in myocardial oxygen supply/demand, and alternations in myocardial contractility. Recognition of pulsus alternans is important as it provides significant clinical information, may suggest suboptimal medical management, and may be the first warning sign of severe cardiac dysfunction.