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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.
COVID-19 has markedly impacted the provision of neurodevelopmental care. In response, the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative established a Task Force to assess the telehealth practices of cardiac neurodevelopmental programmes during COVID-19, including adaptation of services, test protocols and interventions, and perceived obstacles, disparities, successes, and training needs.
A 47-item online survey was sent to 42 Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative member sites across North America within a 3-week timeframe (22 July to 11 August 2020) to collect cross-sectional data on practices.
Of the 30 participating sites (71.4% response rate), all were providing at least some clinical services at the time of the survey and 24 sites (80%) reported using telehealth. All but one of these sites were offering new telehealth services in response to COVID-19, with the most striking change being the capacity to offer new intervention services for children and their caregivers. Only a third of sites were able to carry out standardised, performance-based, neurodevelopmental testing with children and adolescents using telehealth, and none had completed comparable testing with infants and toddlers. Barriers associated with language, child ability, and access to technology were identified as contributing to disparities in telehealth access.
Telehealth has enabled continuation of at least some cardiac neurodevelopmental services during COVID-19, despite the challenges experienced by providers, children, families, and health systems. The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative provides a unique platform for sharing challenges and successes across sites, as we continue to shape an evidence-based, efficient, and consistent approach to the care of individuals with CHD.
In 2018, the Neurodevelopmental and Psychosocial Interventions Working Group of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative convened through support from an R13 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to survey the state of neurodevelopmental and psychosocial intervention research in CHD and to propose a slate of critical questions and investigations required to improve outcomes for this growing population of survivors and their families. Prior research, although limited, suggests that individualised developmental care interventions delivered early in life are beneficial for improving a range of outcomes including feeding, motor and cognitive development, and physiological regulation. Interventions to address self-regulatory, cognitive, and social-emotional challenges have shown promise in other medical populations, yet their applicability and effectiveness for use in individuals with CHD have not been examined. To move this field of research forward, we must strive to better understand the impact of neurodevelopmental and psychosocial intervention within the CHD population including adapting existing interventions for individuals with CHD. We must examine the ways in which dedicated cardiac neurodevelopmental follow-up programmes bolster resilience and support children and families through the myriad transitions inherent to the experience of living with CHD. And, we must ensure that interventions are person-/family-centred, inclusive of individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds as well as those with genetic/medical comorbidities, and proactive in their efforts to include individuals who are at highest risk but who may be traditionally less likely to participate in intervention trials.
This study examined longitudinal associations between performance on the Rey–Osterrieth Complex Figure–Developmental Scoring System (ROCF-DSS) at 8 years of age and academic outcomes at 16 years of age in 133 children with dextro-transposition of the great arteries (d-TGA).
The ROCF-DSS was administered at the age of 8 and the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, First and Second Edition (WIAT/WIAT-II) at the ages of 8 and 16, respectively. ROCF-DSS protocols were classified by Organization (Organized/Disorganized) and Style (Part-oriented/Holistic). Two-way univariate (ROCF-DSS Organization × Style) ANCOVAs were computed with 16-year academic outcomes as the dependent variables and socioeconomic status (SES) as the covariate.
The Organization × Style interaction was not statistically significant. However, ROCF-DSS Organization at 8 years was significantly associated with Reading, Math, Associative, and Assembled academic skills at 16 years, with better organization predicting better academic performance.
Performance on the ROCF-DSS, a complex visual-spatial problem-solving task, in children with d-TGA can forecast academic performance in both reading and mathematics nearly a decade later. These findings may have implications for identifying risk in children with other medical and neurodevelopmental disorders affecting brain development.
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.
In 2012, the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Paediatrics released a scientific statement with guidelines for the evaluation and management of the neurodevelopmental needs of children with CHD. Decades of outcome research now highlight a range of cognitive, learning, motor, and psychosocial vulnerabilities affecting individuals with CHD across the lifespan. The number of institutions with Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Follow-Up Programmes and services for CHD is growing worldwide. This manuscript provides an expanded set of neurodevelopmental evaluation strategies and considerations for professionals working with school-age children with CHD. Recommendations begin with the referral process and access to the evaluation, the importance of considering medical risk factors (e.g., genetic disorders, neuroimaging), and the initial clinical interview with the family. The neurodevelopmental evaluation should take into account both family and patient factors, including the child/family’s primary language, country of origin, and other cultural factors, as well as critical stages in development that place the child at higher risk. Domains of assessment are reviewed with emphasis on target areas in need of evaluation based on current outcome research with CHD. Finally, current recommendations are made for assessment batteries using a brief core battery and an extended comprehensive clinical battery. Consistent use of a recommended assessment battery will increase opportunities for research collaborations, and ultimately help improve the quality of care for families and children with CHD.
Most children born with even the most critical forms of CHD are now surviving well into adulthood. However, with increased survival has come increased recognition of the diverse neurobehavioural and psychosocial challenges these children experience. Among these challenges are deficits in executive function skills, including inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Over the past several years, whereas inhibitory control and working memory deficits have garnered particular attention among clinicians and interventionists, relatively less attention has been paid to cognitive flexibility. This is unfortunate given both the high prevalence of cognitive flexibility deficits observed in children and adolescents with critical CHD, and also the far-reaching relevance of cognitive flexibility in helping individuals achieve optimal quality of life across the lifespan. This paper reviews the construct of cognitive flexibility, including its definition, development, measurement, and neuroanatomical basis, provides a summary of how cognitive flexibility is affected by CHD, and offers evidence-based recommendations to systematically support the development of cognitive flexibility within the context of CHD.
To determine the scope, source, and mode of transmission of a multifacility outbreak of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Acinetobacter baumannii.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS
Residents and patients in skilled nursing facilities, long-term acute-care hospital, and acute-care hospitals.
A case was defined as the incident isolate from clinical or surveillance cultures of XDR Acinetobacter baumannii resistant to imipenem or meropenem and nonsusceptible to all but 1 or 2 antibiotic classes in a patient in an Oregon healthcare facility during January 2012–December 2014. We queried clinical laboratories, reviewed medical records, oversaw patient and environmental surveillance surveys at 2 facilities, and recommended interventions. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and molecular analysis were performed.
We identified 21 cases, highly related by PFGE or healthcare facility exposure. Overall, 17 patients (81%) were admitted to either long-term acute-care hospital A (n=8), or skilled nursing facility A (n=8), or both (n=1) prior to XDR A. baumannii isolation. Interfacility communication of patient or resident XDR status was not performed during transfer between facilities. The rare plasmid-encoded carbapenemase gene blaOXA-237 was present in 16 outbreak isolates. Contact precautions, chlorhexidine baths, enhanced environmental cleaning, and interfacility communication were implemented for cases to halt transmission.
Interfacility transmission of XDR A. baumannii carrying the rare blaOXA-237 was facilitated by transfer of affected patients without communication to receiving facilities.
Objectives: Although evidence exists of broadly defined memory impairment among adolescents with critical congenital heart disease (CHD), nuanced investigations of declarative memory in this at-risk population have not been conducted. This study had two primary aims: (1) to conduct a fine-grained analysis of a range of relevant learning and memory processes in adolescents with critical biventricular CHD, and (2) to identify risk, odds, and predictors of memory impairment. Methods: Data were combined from two single-center studies of neurodevelopmental outcomes in critical CHD. Two-hundred seven adolescents (Mage=15.61±1.0 years) with critical CHD (139 with dextro-transposition of the great arteries and 68 with tetralogy of Fallot without an identified genetic condition), as well as 61 healthy referents (Mage=15.27±1.1 years) completed a neuropsychological evaluation which included the Children’s Memory Scale. Results: Whereas visual-spatial memory deficits were found in both CHD subgroups, verbal memory abilities were relatively preserved. Adolescents with CHD demonstrated stronger memory for Stories than Word Pairs, t (203)=2.63, p=.009, and for Dot Locations than Faces, t(204)=−2.57, p=.01. CHD subgroup, socioeconomic status, sex, and seizure history were among the most frequent significant predictors of memory impairment. Seizure history, in particular, was associated with a 2 to 3 times greater odds of impaired performance on learning and memory tasks. Conclusions: Adolescents with critical biventricular CHD are at risk for deficits in aspects of declarative memory. Independent risk factors for worse outcome include history of seizures. (JINS, 2017, 23, 627–639)
Children and adolescents with critical cyanotic congenital heart disease (CHD) are at risk for deficits in aspects of executive function (EF). The primary aim of this investigation was to compare EF outcomes in three groups of children/adolescents with severe CHD and controls (ages 10–19 years). Participants included 463 children/adolescents with CHD [dextro-transposition of the great arteries (TGA), n=139; tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), n=68; and, single-ventricle anatomy requiring Fontan procedure (SVF), n=145] and 111 controls, who underwent laboratory and informant-based evaluation of EF skills. Rates of EF impairment on D-KEFS measures were nearly twice as high for CHD groups (75–81%) than controls (43%). Distinct EF profiles were documented between CHD groups on D-KEFS tasks. Deficits in flexibility/problem-solving and verbally mediated EF skills were documented in all three CHD groups; visuo-spatially mediated EF abilities were impaired in TOF and SVF groups, but preserved in TGA. Parent, teacher, and self-report ratings on the BRIEF highlighted unique patterns of metacognitive and self-regulatory concerns across informants. CHD poses a serious threat to EF development. Greater severity of CHD is associated with worse EF outcomes. With increased understanding of the cognitive and self-regulatory vulnerabilities experienced by children and adolescents with CHD, it may be possible to identify risks early and provide individualized supports to promote optimal neurodevelopment. (JINS, 2014, 20, 34–49)
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