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Neurocognitive impairment and quality of life are two important long-term challenges for patients with complex CHD. The impact of re-interventions during adolescence and young adulthood on neurocognition and quality of life is not well understood.
In this prospective longitudinal multi-institutional study, patients 13–30 years old with severe CHD referred for surgical or transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement were enrolled. Clinical characteristics were collected, and executive function and quality of life were assessed prior to the planned pulmonary re-intervention. These results were compared to normative data and were compared between treatment strategies.
Among 68 patients enrolled from 2016 to 2020, a nearly equal proportion were referred for surgical and transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement (53% versus 47%). Tetralogy of Fallot was the most common diagnosis (59%) and pulmonary re-intervention indications included stenosis (25%), insufficiency (40%), and mixed disease (35%). There were no substantial differences between patients referred for surgical and transcatheter therapy. Executive functioning deficits were evident in 19–31% of patients and quality of life was universally lower compared to normative sample data. However, measures of executive function and quality of life did not differ between the surgical and transcatheter patients.
In this patient group, impairments in neurocognitive function and quality of life are common and can be significant. Given similar baseline characteristics, comparing changes in neurocognitive outcomes and quality of life after surgical versus transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement will offer unique insights into how treatment approaches impact these important long-term patient outcomes.
The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery (WCPCCS) will be held in Washington DC, USA, from Saturday, 26 August, 2023 to Friday, 1 September, 2023, inclusive. The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery will be the largest and most comprehensive scientific meeting dedicated to paediatric and congenital cardiac care ever held. At the time of the writing of this manuscript, The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery has 5,037 registered attendees (and rising) from 117 countries, a truly diverse and international faculty of over 925 individuals from 89 countries, over 2,000 individual abstracts and poster presenters from 101 countries, and a Best Abstract Competition featuring 153 oral abstracts from 34 countries. For information about the Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, please visit the following website: [www.WCPCCS2023.org]. The purpose of this manuscript is to review the activities related to global health and advocacy that will occur at the Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery.
Acknowledging the need for urgent change, we wanted to take the opportunity to bring a common voice to the global community and issue the Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action on Addressing the Global Burden of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Diseases. A copy of this Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action is provided in the Appendix of this manuscript. This Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action is an initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the global burden, promoting the development of sustainable care systems, and improving access to high quality and equitable healthcare for children with heart disease as well as adults with congenital heart disease worldwide.
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.
To assess the training and the future workforce needs of paediatric cardiac critical care faculty.
REDCap surveys were sent May−August 2019 to medical directors and faculty at the 120 US centres participating in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery Database. Faculty and directors were asked about personal training pathway and planned employment changes. Directors were additionally asked for current faculty numbers, expected job openings, presence of training programmes, and numbers of trainees. Predictive modelling of the workforce was performed using respondents’ data. Patient volume was projected from US Census data and compared to projected provider availability.
Measurements and main results:
Sixty-six per cent (79/120) of directors and 62% (294/477) of contacted faculty responded. Most respondents had training that incorporated critical care medicine with the majority completing training beyond categorical fellowship. Younger respondents and those in dedicated cardiac ICUs were more significantly likely to have advanced training or dual fellowships in cardiology and critical care medicine. An estimated 49–63 faculty enter the workforce annually from various training pathways. Based on modelling, these faculty will likely fill current and projected open positions over the next 5 years.
Paediatric cardiac critical care training has evolved, such that the majority of faculty now have dual fellowship or advanced training. The projected number of incoming faculty will likely fill open positions within the next 5 years. Institutions with existing or anticipated training programmes should be cognisant of these data and prepare graduates for an increasingly competitive market.
To assess current demographics and duties of physicians as well as the structure of paediatric cardiac critical care in the United States.
REDCap surveys were sent by email from May till August 2019 to medical directors (“directors”) of critical care units at the 120 United States centres submitting data to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery Database and to associated faculty from centres that provided email lists. Faculty and directors were asked about personal attributes and clinical duties. Directors were additionally asked about unit structure.
Measurements and main results:
Responses were received from 66% (79/120) of directors and 62% (294/477) of contacted faculty. Seventy-six percent of directors and 54% of faculty were male, however, faculty <40 years old were predominantly women. The majority of both groups were white. Median bed count (n = 20) was similar in ICUs and multi-disciplinary paediatric ICUs. The median service expectation for one clinical full-time equivalent was 14 weeks of clinical service (interquartile range 12, 16), with the majority of programmes (86%) providing in-house attending night coverage. Work hours were high during service and non-service weeks with both directors (37%) and faculty (45%).
Racial and ethnic diversity is markedly deficient in the paediatric cardiac critical care workforce. Although the majority of faculty are male, females make up the majority of the workforce younger than 40 years old. Work hours across all age groups and unit types are high both on- and off-service, with most units providing attending in-house night coverage.
Little data exist on provider perspectives about counselling and shared decision-making for complex CHD, ways to support and improve the process, and barriers to effective communication. The goal of this qualitative study was to determine providers’ perspectives regarding factors that are integral to shared decision-making with parents faced with complex CHD in their fetus or newborn; and barriers and facilitators to engaging in effective shared decision-making.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with providers from different areas of practice who care for fetuses and/or children with CHD. Providers were recruited from four geographically diverse centres. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analysed for key themes using an open coding process with a grounded theory approach.
Interviews were conducted with 31 providers; paediatric cardiologists (n = 7) were the largest group represented, followed by nurses (n = 6) and palliative care providers (n = 5). Key barriers to communication with parents that providers identified included variability among providers themselves, factors that influenced parental comprehension or understanding, discrepant expectations, circumstantial barriers, and trust/relationship with providers. When discussing informational needs of parents, providers focused on comprehensive short- and long-term outcomes, quality of life, and breadth and depth that aligned with parental goals and needs. In discussing resources to support shared decision-making, providers emphasised the need for comprehensive, up-to-date information that was accessible to parents of varying situations and backgrounds.
Provider perspectives on decision-making with families with CHD highlighted key communication issues, informational priorities, and components of decision support that can enhance shared decision-making.
Neurodevelopmental and psychosocial impairments negatively impact health-related quality of life for survivors with CHD and complicate the transition to independent adulthood. Risk for neurodevelopmental and psychosocial impairments is influenced by a complex interplay among genetic, foetal, surgical, perioperative, family, and social factors, requiring a multi-pronged approach to neuroprotection and intervention. To ensure future research can ultimately reduce the burden of CHD for individuals, families, and society, the most pressing issues in cardiac neurodevelopment requiring scientific investigation must be identified.
Through funding from an R13 Grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health of the United States of America, the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative convened a two-day meeting of international experts in cardiac neurodevelopmental and psychosocial research, clinical care, and health disparities, including patient and family stakeholders, to define the cardiac neurodevelopmental and psychosocial outcomes research agenda for the next decade. Seven multidisciplinary working groups were formed to address key domains crucial to the advancement of cardiac neurodevelopmental and psychosocial outcomes research: 1) Foetal Brain Development and Neuroprotection, 2) Surgical/Perioperative Neuroprotection and Neurodevelopment, 3) Characterization of Neurodevelopmental and Psychological Outcomes, 4) Neurodevelopmental and Psychosocial Intervention, 5) Parent Mental Health and Family Functioning, 6) Neurodevelopmental Education, Outreach and Advocacy, and 7) Health Disparities and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes. Working groups identified significant gaps in knowledge and critical questions that must be answered to further knowledge, policy, care, and outcomes. The development of a research agenda in cardiac neurodevelopmental and psychosocial outcomes is critical for informing collaborative initiatives and allocation of funding for research to scientific inquiries of highest value to key stakeholders.
Diagnosis of CHD substantially affects parent mental health and family functioning, thereby influencing child neurodevelopmental and psychosocial outcomes. Recognition of the need to proactively support parent mental health and family functioning following cardiac diagnosis to promote psychosocial adaptation has increased substantially over recent years. However, significant gaps in knowledge remain and families continue to report critical unmet psychosocial needs. The Parent Mental Health and Family Functioning Working Group of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative was formed in 2018 through support from an R13 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to identify significant knowledge gaps related to parent mental health and family functioning, as well as critical questions that must be answered to further knowledge, policy, care, and outcomes. Conceptually driven investigations are needed to identify parent mental health and family functioning factors with the strongest influence on child outcomes, to obtain a deeper understanding of the biomarkers associated with these factors, and to better understand how parent mental health and family functioning influence child outcomes over time. Investigations are also needed to develop, test, and implement sustainable models of mental health screening and assessment, as well as effective interventions to optimise parent mental health and family functioning to promote psychosocial adaptation. The critical questions and investigations outlined in this paper provide a roadmap for future research to close gaps in knowledge, improve care, and promote positive outcomes for families of children 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.
The Neurodevelopmental and Psychological Outcomes Working Group of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative was formed in 2018 through support from an R13 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute with the goals of identifying knowledge gaps regarding the neurodevelopmental and psychological outcomes of individuals with CHD and investigations needed to advance science, policy, clinical care, and patient/family outcomes. Accurate characterisation of neurodevelopmental and psychological outcomes in children with CHD will drive improvements in patient and family outcomes through targeted intervention. Decades of research have produced a generalised perspective about neurodevelopmental and psychological outcomes in this heterogeneous population. Future investigations need to shift towards improving methods, measurement, and analyses of outcomes to better inform early identification, prevention, and intervention. Improved definition of underlying developmental, neuropsychological, and social-emotional constructs is needed, with an emphasis on symptom networks and dimensions. Identification of clinically meaningful outcomes that are most important to key stakeholders, including patients, families, schools and providers, is essential, specifically how and which neurodevelopmental differences across the developmental trajectory impact stakeholders. A better understanding of the discontinuity and patterns of neurodevelopment across the lifespan is critical as well, with some areas being more impactful at some ages than others. Finally, the field needs to account for the impact of race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, cultural and linguistic diversity on our measurement, interpretation of data, and approach to intervention and how to improve generalisability to the larger worldwide population of patients and families living with CHD.
Improved survival of patients with paediatric and congenital cardiac disease has led to a heightened awareness of the cognitive, neurodevelopmental, psychosocial, and physical functioning deficits that limit health, academic functioning, adaptive functioning, behavioural and emotional outcomes, health-related quality of life, and well-being for children and adults with congenital heart disease. The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative was founded in 2016; its mission is to determine and implement best practices of neurodevelopmental and psychosocial services for individuals with paediatric and congenital heart disease and their families through clinical, quality improvement, and research initiatives.
Cardiology in the Young is devoted to cardiovascular issues affecting the young, and older patients with congenital heart disease, or with other cardiac diseases acquired during childhood. The journal serves the interests of all professionals concerned with these topics. By design, the journal is international and multidisciplinary in its approach, and members of the editorial board take an active role in its mission, helping to make it an indispensable reference for paediatric and congenital cardiac care. All aspects of paediatric and congenital cardiac care are covered in the journal. The content includes original articles, brief reports, editorials, reviews, and papers devoted to continuing professional development. High-quality colour figures are published on a regular basis, and without charge to the authors. Regular supplements are published containing the abstracts of the annual meetings of the Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology, along with other occasional supplements. These supplements are supplied free to subscribers.
The vision of Cardiology in the Young is to use print and electronic media to improve paediatric and congenital cardiac care. The mission of Cardiology in the Young is to be a premier global journal for paediatric and congenital cardiac care – an essential journal that spans the domains of patient care, research, education, and advocacy, and also spans geographical, temporal, and subspecialty boundaries.
Cardiology in the Young and the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative are pleased to announce that Cardiology in the Young will serve as the official journal of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative. This new partnership between the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative and Cardiology in the Young will facilitate the dissemination of knowledge and recommendations to the scientific, clinical, and patient advocacy communities, ultimately improving paediatric and congenital cardiac care and outcomes for individuals with paediatric and congenital heart disease and their families.
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.
Over the last two decades, heart centres have developed strategies to meet the neurodevelopmental needs of children with congenital heart disease. Since the publication of guidelines in 2012, cardiac neurodevelopmental follow-up programmes have become more widespread. Local neurodevelopmental programmes, however, have been developed independently in widely varying environments. We sought to characterise variation in structure and personnel in cardiac neurodevelopmental programmes. A 31-item survey was sent to all member institutions of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative. Multidisciplinary teams at each centre completed the survey. Responses were compiled in a descriptive fashion. Of the 29 invited centres, 23 responded to the survey (79%). Centres reported more anticipated neurodevelopment visits between birth and 5 years of age (median 5, range 2–8) than 5–18 years (median 2, range 0–10) with 53% of centres lacking any standard for routine neurodevelopment evaluations after 5 years of age. Estimated annual neurodevelopment clinic volume ranged from 85 to 428 visits with a median of 16% of visits involving children >5 years of age. Among responding centres, the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development and Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence were the most routinely used tests. Neonatal clinical assessment was more common (64%) than routine neonatal brain imaging (23%) during hospitalisation. In response to clinical need and published guidelines, centres have established formal cardiac neurodevelopment follow-up programmes. Centres vary considerably in their approaches to routine screening and objective testing, with many centres currently focussing their resources on evaluating younger patients.
The Fontan Outcomes Network was created to improve outcomes for children and adults with single ventricle CHD living with Fontan circulation. The network mission is to optimise longevity and quality of life by improving physical health, neurodevelopmental outcomes, resilience, and emotional health for these individuals and their families. This manuscript describes the systematic design of this new learning health network, including the initial steps in development of a national, lifespan registry, and pilot testing of data collection forms at 10 congenital heart centres.
This is a cross-sectional study aiming to understand the early characteristics and background of bone health impairment in clinically well children with Fontan circulation.
We enrolled 10 clinically well children with Fontan palliation (operated >5 years before study entrance, Tanner stage ≤3, age 12.1 ± 1.77 years, 7 males) and 11 healthy controls (age 12.0 ± 1.45 years, 9 males) at two children’s hospitals. All patients underwent peripheral quantitative CT. For the Fontan group, we obtained clinical characteristics, NYHA class, cardiac index by MRI, dual x-ray absorptiometry, and biochemical studies. Linear regression was used to compare radius and tibia peripheral quantitative CT measures between Fontan patients and controls.
All Fontan patients were clinically well (NYHA class 1 or 2, cardiac index 4.85 ± 1.51 L/min/m2) and without significant comorbidities. Adjusted trabecular bone mineral density, cortical thickness, and bone strength index at the radius were significantly decreased in Fontan patients compared to controls with mean differences −30.13 mg/cm3 (p = 0.041), −0.31 mm (p = 0.043), and −6.65 mg2/mm4 (p = 0.036), respectively. No differences were found for tibial measures. In Fontan patients, the mean height-adjusted lumbar bone mineral density and total body less head z scores were −0.46 ± 1.1 and −0.63 ± 1.1, respectively, which are below the average, but within normal range for age and sex.
In a clinically well Fontan cohort, we found significant bone deficits by peripheral quantitative CT in the radius but not the tibia, suggesting non-weight-bearing bones may be more vulnerable to the unique haemodynamics of the Fontan circulation.
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.
Approximately 32,000 infants are born with CHDs each year in the United States of America. Of every 1000 live births, 2.3 require surgical or transcatheter intervention in the first year of life. There are few more stressful times for parents than when their neonate receives a diagnosis of complex CHD requiring surgery. The stress of caring for these infants is often unrelenting and may last for weeks, months, and often years, placing parents at risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as a drastic decrease in quality of life. Anxiety often peaks in the days and weeks after discharge from the hospital as families no longer have immediate access to nursing and medical staff. The purpose of this paper is to describe the methods of a randomised controlled trial that was designed to determine whether REACH would favourably affect parental and infant outcomes by decreasing parental stress, improve parental quality of life, increase infant stability, and decrease resource utilisation in infants with complex CHD.