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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.
Multicentre research databases can provide insights into healthcare processes to improve outcomes and make practice recommendations for novel approaches. Effective audits can establish a framework for reporting research efforts, ensuring accurate reporting, and spearheading quality improvement. Although a variety of data auditing models and standards exist, barriers to effective auditing including costs, regulatory requirements, travel, and design complexity must be considered.
Materials and methods:
The Congenital Cardiac Research Collaborative conducted a virtual data training initiative and remote source data verification audit on a retrospective multicentre dataset. CCRC investigators across nine institutions were trained to extract and enter data into a robust dataset on patients with tetralogy of Fallot who required neonatal intervention. Centres provided de-identified source files for a randomised 10% patient sample audit. Key auditing variables, discrepancy types, and severity levels were analysed across two study groups, primary repair and staged repair.
Of the total 572 study patients, data from 58 patients (31 staged repairs and 27 primary repairs) were source data verified. Amongst the 1790 variables audited, 45 discrepancies were discovered, resulting in an overall accuracy rate of 97.5%. High accuracy rates were consistent across all CCRC institutions ranging from 94.6% to 99.4% and were reported for both minor (1.5%) and major discrepancies type classifications (1.1%).
Findings indicate that implementing a virtual multicentre training initiative and remote source data verification audit can identify data quality concerns and produce a reliable, high-quality dataset. Remote auditing capacity is especially important during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Operators are mindful of the balloon-to-aortic annulus ratio when performing balloon aortic valvuloplasty. The method of measurement of the aortic valve annulus has not been standardised.
Methods and results:
Patients who underwent aortic valvuloplasty at two paediatric centres between 2007 and 2014 were included. The valve annulus measured by echocardiography and angiography was used to calculate the balloon-to-aortic annulus ratio and measurements were compared. The primary endpoint was an increase in aortic insufficiency by ≥2 degrees. Ninety-eight patients with a median age at valvuloplasty of 2.1 months (Interquartile range (IQR): 0.2–105.5) were included. The angiographic-based annulus was 8.2 mm (IQR: 6.8–16.0), which was greater than echocardiogram-based annulus of 7.5 mm (IQR: 6.1–14.8) (p < 0.001). This corresponded to a significantly lower angiographic balloon-to-aortic annulus ratio of 0.9 (IQR: 0.9–1.0), compared to an echocardiographic ratio of 1.1 (IQR: 1.0–1.1) (p < 0.001). The degree of discrepancy in measured diameter increased with smaller valve diameters (p = 0.041) and in neonates (p = 0.044). There was significant disagreement between angiographic and echocardiographic balloon-to-aortic annulus ratio measures regarding “High” ratio of >1.2, with angiographic ratio flagging only 2/12 (16.7%) of patients flagged by echocardiographic ratio as “High” (p = 0.012). Patients who had an increase in the degree of aortic insufficiency post valvuloplasty, only 3 (5.5%) had angiographic ratio > 1.1, while 21 (38%) had echocardiographic ratio >1.1 (p < 0.001). Patients with resultant ≥ moderate insufficiency more often had an echocardiographic ratio of >1.1 than angiographic ratio of >1.1 There was no association between increase in balloon-to-aortic annulus ratio and gradient reduction.
Angiographic measurement is associated with a greater measured aortic valve annulus and the development of aortic insufficiency. Operators should use caution when relying solely on angiographic measurement when performing balloon aortic valvuloplasty.
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.
Being overweight is associated with reduced functional capacity in Fontan patients. Increased adiposity leads to accumulation of epicardial and intra-abdominal visceral fat, which produce proinflammatory cytokines and may affect endothelial function. This retrospective study to evaluate the association between visceral fat and Fontan haemodynamics included 23 Fontan patients >18 years old with MRI and catheterization data available. Epicardial fat volume indexed to body surface area was measured by cardiac MRI, and intra-abdominal visceral fat thickness and subcutaneous fat thickness were derived from abdominal MRI. Stepwise regression models were used to determine univariable and multivariable associations between fat measures and haemodynamics. Mean age was 28.2 ± 9.5 years and body mass index was 26 ± 4 kg/m2. Mean central venous pressure was 13 ± 3 mmHg and pulmonary vascular resistance index was 1.23WU·m2 (interquartile range: 0.95–1.56). Epicardial fat volume was associated with age (r2 = 0.37, p = 0.002), weight (r2 = 0.26, p = 0.013), body mass index (r2 = 0.27, p = 0.011), and intra-abdominal visceral fat (r2 = 0.30, p = 0.018). Subcutaneous fat thickness did not relate to these measures. There was modest correlation between epicardial fat volume and pulmonary vascular resistance (r2 = 0.27, p = 0.02) and a trend towards significant correlation between intra-abdominal fat thickness and pulmonary vascular resistance (r2 = 0.21, p = 0.06). Subcutaneous fat thickness was not associated with Fontan haemodynamics. In multivariable analysis, including age and visceral fat measures, epicardial fat was independently correlated with pulmonary vascular resistance (point estimate 0.13 ± 0.05 per 10 ml/m2 increase, p = 0.03). In conclusion, in adults with Fontan circulation, increased visceral fat is associated with higher pulmonary vascular resistance. Excess visceral fat may represent a therapeutic target to improve Fontan haemodynamics.
Transcatheter right ventricle decompression in neonates with pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum is technically challenging, with risk of cardiac perforation and death. Further, despite successful right ventricle decompression, re-intervention on the pulmonary valve is common. The association between technical factors during right ventricle decompression and the risks of complications and re-intervention are not well described.
This is a multicentre retrospective study among the participating centres of the Congenital Catheterization Research Collaborative. Between 2005 and 2015, all neonates with pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum and attempted transcatheter right ventricle decompression were included. Technical factors evaluated included the use and characteristics of radiofrequency energy, maximal balloon-to-pulmonary valve annulus ratio, infundibular diameter, and right ventricle systolic pressure pre- and post-valvuloplasty (BPV). The primary end point was cardiac perforation or death; the secondary end point was re-intervention.
A total of 99 neonates underwent transcatheter right ventricle decompression at a median of 3 days (IQR 2–5) of age, including 63 patients by radiofrequency and 32 by wire perforation of the pulmonary valve. There were 32 complications including 10 (10.5%) cardiac perforations, of which two resulted in death. Cardiac perforation was associated with the use of radiofrequency (p=0.047), longer radiofrequency duration (3.5 versus 2.0 seconds, p=0.02), and higher maximal radiofrequency energy (7.5 versus 5.0 J, p<0.01) but not with patient weight (p=0.09), pulmonary valve diameter (p=0.23), or infundibular diameter (p=0.57). Re-intervention was performed in 36 patients and was associated with higher post-intervention right ventricle pressure (median 60 versus 50 mmHg, p=0.041) and residual valve gradient (median 15 versus 10 mmHg, p=0.046), but not with balloon-to-pulmonary valve annulus ratio, atmospheric pressure used during BPV, or the presence of a residual balloon waist during BPV. Re-intervention was not associated with any right ventricle anatomic characteristics, including pulmonary valve diameter.
Technical factors surrounding transcatheter right ventricle decompression in pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum influence the risk of procedural complications but not the risk of future re-intervention. Cardiac perforation is associated with the use of radiofrequency energy, as well as radiofrequency application characteristics. Re-intervention after right ventricle decompression for pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum is common and relates to haemodynamic measures surrounding initial BPV.
Norwood palliation for patients with single ventricle heart disease is associated with a significant risk for acute kidney injury, which portends a worse prognosis. We sought to investigate the impact of hybrid stage I palliation (Hybrid) on acute kidney injury risk.
This study is a single-centre prospective case–control study of seven consecutive neonates with single ventricle undergoing Hybrid palliation. Levels of serum creatinine and four novel urinary biomarkers, namely neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, interleukin-18, liver fatty acid-binding protein, and kidney injury molecule-1, were obtained before and after palliation. Acute kidney injury was defined as a ⩾50% increase in serum creatinine within 48 hours after the procedure. Data were compared with a contemporary cohort of 12 neonates with single ventricle who underwent Norwood palliation.
Patients who underwent Hybrid were more likely to be high-risk candidates (86 versus 25%, p=0.01) compared with those who underwent Norwood. Despite similar preoperative serum creatinine levels, there was a trend towards higher levels of postoperative peak serum creatinine (0.7 [0.63, 0.94] versus 0.56 [0.47, 0.74], p=0.06) and rate of acute kidney injury (67 versus 29%, p=0.17) in the Norwood cohort. Preoperative neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (58.4 [11, 86.3] versus 6.3 [5, 16.2], p=0.07) and interleukin-18 (30.6 [9.6, 167.2] versus 6.3 [6.3, 16.4], p=0.03) levels were higher in the Hybrid cohort. Nevertheless, longitudinal mixed-effect models demonstrated Hybrid palliation to be a protective factor against increased postoperative levels of neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (estimate −1.8 [−3.0, −9.0], p<0.001) and liver fatty acid-binding protein (−49.3 [−89.7, −8.8], p=0.018).
In this single-centre case–control study, postoperative acute kidney injury risk did not differ significantly by single ventricle stage I treatment strategy; however, postoperative elevation in novel urinary biomarkers, consistent with subclinical kidney injury, was encountered in the Norwood cohort but not in the Hybrid cohort.
The aim of this study was to describe previously unrecognised or under-recognised adverse events associated with Melody® valve implantation.
In rare diseases and conditions, it is typically not feasible to conduct large-scale safety trials before drug or device approval. Therefore, post-market surveillance mechanisms are necessary to detect rare but potentially serious adverse events.
We reviewed the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database and conducted a structured literature review to evaluate adverse events associated with on- and off-label Melody® valve implantation. Adverse events were compared with those described in the prospective Investigational Device Exemption and Post-Market Approval Melody® transcatheter pulmonary valve trials.
We identified 631 adverse events associated with “on-label” Melody® valve implants and 84 adverse events associated with “off-label” implants. The most frequent “on-label” adverse events were similar to those described in the prospective trials including stent fracture (n=210) and endocarditis (n=104). Previously unrecognised or under-recognised adverse events included stent fragment embolisation (n=5), device erosion (n=4), immediate post-implant severe valvar insufficiency (n=2), and late coronary compression (n=2 cases at 5 days and 3 months after implantation). Under-recognised adverse events associated with off-label implantation included early valve failure due to insufficiency when implanted in the tricuspid position (n=7) and embolisation with percutaneous implantation in the mitral position (n=5).
Post-market passive surveillance does not demonstrate a high frequency of previously unrecognised serious adverse events with “on-label” Melody® valve implantation. Further study is needed to evaluate safety of “off-label” uses.
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