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CHD care is resource-intensive. Unwarranted variation in care may increase cost and result in poorer health outcomes. We hypothesise that process variation exists within the pre-operative evaluation and planning process for children undergoing repair of atrial septal defect or ventricular septal defect and that substantial variation occurs in a small number of care points.
From interviews with staff of an integrated congenital heart centre, an initial process map was constructed. A retrospective chart review of patients with isolated surgical atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect repair from 7/1/2018 through 11/1/2020 informed revisions of the process map. The map was assessed for points of consistency and variability.
Thirty-two surgical atrial septal defect/ventricular septal defect repair patients were identified. Ten (31%) were reviewed by interventional cardiology before surgical review. Of these, 6(60%) had a failed catheter-based closure and 4 (40%) were deemed inappropriate for catheter-based closure. Thirty (94%) were reviewed in case conference, all attended surgical clinic, and none were admitted prior to surgery. The process map from interviews alone identified surgery rescheduling as a point of major variability; however, chart review revealed this was not as prominent a source of variability as pre-operative interventional cardiology review.
Significant variation in the pre-operative evaluation and planning process for surgical atrial septal defect/ventricular septal defect patients was identified. If such process variation is widespread through CHD care, it may contribute to variations in outcome and cost previously documented within CHD surgery. Future research will focus on determining whether the variation is warranted or unwarranted, associated health outcomes and cost variation attributed to these variations in care processes.
To perform a statewide characteristics and outcomes analysis of the Trisomy 18 (T18) population and explore the potential impact of associated congenital heart disease (CHD) and congenital heart surgery.
Retrospective review of the Texas Hospital Inpatient Discharge Public Use Data File between 2009 and 2019, analysing discharges of patients with T18 identified using ICD-9/10 codes. Discharges were linked to analyse patients. Demographic characteristics and available outcomes were evaluated. The population was divided into groups for comparison: patients with no documentation of CHD (T18NoCHD), patients with CHD without congenital heart surgery (T18CHD), and patients who underwent congenital heart surgery (T18CHS).
One thousand one hundred fifty-six eligible patients were identified: 443 (38%) T18NoCHD, 669 (58%) T18CHD, and 44 (4%) T18CHS. T18CHS had a lower proportion of Hispanic patients (n = 9 (20.45%)) compared to T18CHD (n = 315 (47.09%)), and T18NoCHD (n = 219 (49.44%)) (p < 0.001 for both). Patients with Medicare/Medicaid insurance had a 0.42 odds ratio (95%CI: 0.20–0.86, p = 0.020) of undergoing congenital heart surgery compared to private insurance. T18CHS had a higher median total days in-hospital (47.5 [IQR: 12.25–113.25] vs. 9 [IQR: 3–24] and 2 [IQR: 1–5], p < 0.001); and a higher median number of admissions (n = 2 [IQR: 1–4]) vs. 1 [IQR: 1–2] and 1 [IQR: 1–1], (p < 0.001 for both). However, the post-operative median number of admissions for T18CHS was 0 [IQR: 0–2]. After the first month of life, T18CHS had freedom from in-hospital mortality similar to T18NoCHD and superior to T18CHD.
Short-term outcomes for T18CHS patients are encouraging, suggesting a freedom from in-hospital mortality that resembles the T18NoCHD. The highlighted socio-economic differences between the groups warrant further investigation. Development of a prospective registry for T18 patients should be a priority for better understanding of longer-term outcomes.
With advances in care, an increasing number of individuals with single-ventricle CHD are surviving into adulthood. Partners of individuals with chronic illness have unique experiences and challenges. The goal of this pilot qualitative research study was to explore the lived experiences of partners of individuals with single-ventricle CHD.
Partners of patients ≥18 years with single-ventricle CHD were recruited and participated in Experience Group sessions and 1:1 interviews. Experience Group sessions are lightly moderated groups that bring together individuals with similar circumstances to discuss their lived experiences, centreing them as the experts. Formal inductive qualitative coding was performed to identify salient themes.
Six partners of patients participated. Of these, four were males and four were married; all were partners of someone of the opposite sex. Themes identified included uncertainty about their partners’ future health and mortality, becoming a lay CHD specialist, balancing multiple roles, and providing positivity and optimism. Over time, they took on a role as advocates for their partners and as repositories of medical history to help navigate the health system. Despite the uncertainties, participants described championing positivity and optimism for the future.
In this first-of-its-kind pilot study, partners of individuals with single-ventricle CHD expressed unique challenges and experiences in their lives. There is a tacit need to design strategies to help partners cope with those challenges. Further larger-scale research is required to better understand the experiences of this unique population.
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome accounts for a significant proportion of CHD morbidity and mortality, despite improvements in care and improved survival. This study evaluates number of, reasons for, and trends in discharges of patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome over 11 years in Texas.
The Texas Inpatient Discharge Dataset Public Use File captures almost all discharges in Texas and was reviewed from 2009 to 2019. Discharges of patients ≥5 years of age and diagnosis codes for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome were included. The admitting and principle diagnoses were categorised and all discharges were evaluated for procedures performed. Descriptive and univariate statistical analyses were performed.
A total of 1024 discharges were identified with a 16.9% annual increase over the study period. Median length of stay was 4 [IQR: 2–8] and there were 17 (1.7%) in-hospital mortalities with no differences across age groups. Seven (17.1%) discharges of patients 25+ years were uninsured, higher than other age groups (p < 0.001). The most common admitting diagnosis was CHD and 224 (21.9%) of discharges included a procedure, including 23 heart transplants. Discharges occurred from 67 different hospitals with 4 (6.0%) representing 71.4% of all discharges.
Discharges of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome have increased rapidly, particularly in the older age groups and were spread over a large number of hospitals. Further work is needed to understand the interplay between Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and other conditions and care experiences that occur within the general population, which will become more common as this population ages and grows.
The rate of bleeding complications following arterial switch operation is too low to independently justify a prospective randomised study for benefit from recombinant factor VIIa. We aimed to evaluate factor VIIa in a pilot study.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing arterial switch operation from 2012 to 2017. Nearest-neighbour propensity score matching on age, gender, weight, and associated cardiac defects was used to match 27 controls not receiving recombinant factor VIIa to 30 patients receiving recombinant factor VIIa. Fisher’s exact test was performed to compare categorical variables. Wilcoxon’s rank-sum test was used to compare continuous variables between cohorts.
Post-operative thrombotic complications were not associated with factor VIIa administration (Odds Ratio (OR) 0.28, 95% CI 0.005–3.77, p = 0.336), nor was factor VIIa administration associated with any re-explorations for bleeding. No intraoperative transfusion volumes were different between the recombinant factor VIIa cohort and controls. Post-operative prothrombin time (10.8 [10.3–12.3] versus 15.9 [15.1–17.2], p < 0.001) and international normalised ratio (0.8 [0.73–0.90] versus 1.3 [1.2–1.4], p < 0.001]) were lower in recombinant factor VIIa cohort relative to controls.
In spite of a higher post-bypass packed red blood cell transfusion requirement, patients receiving recombinant factor VIIa had a similar incidence of bleeding post-operatively. With no difference in thrombotic complications, and with improved post-operative laboratory haemostasis, a prospective randomised study is warranted to evaluate recombinant factor VIIa.
Foraging strategies in gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) have been well studied (e.g. Croxall et al. 1988, Robinson & Hindell 1996, Lescroël et al. 2004, Takahashi et al. 2008, Xavier et al. 2017). The general consensus is this largest member of the three pygoscelid penguins displays both nearshore benthic and pelagic foraging tactics to consume combinations of crustaceans and fish. In a recent study, Carpenter-Kling et al. (2017) reported that gentoos at sub-Antarctic Marion Island displayed a novel foraging strategy that consisted of alternating typical lengthy foraging trips with much shorter nearshore afternoon trips. They suggest the latter foraging behaviour may be a response to suboptimal feeding conditions caused by local environmental change. This novel discovery reinforces the fact that, despite considerable study, not all foraging tactics in penguins have been documented. In this paper, we describe what we believe to be, yet another undocumented foraging tactic employed by gentoos.
The resection of a subaortic membrane remains far from a curative operation. We sought to examine factors associated with reoperation and the degree of aortic valve regurgitation as a potential long-term source for reoperation.
All patients who underwent resection of an isolated subaortic membrane between 1995 and 2018 were included. Patients who underwent other procedures were excluded. Paired categorical data were compared using McNemar’s test. Univariate time-to-event analyses were performed using Kaplan–Meier methods with log-rank tests for categorical variables and univariate Cox models for continuous variables.
A total of 84 patients (median age 6.6, 31% females) underwent resection of isolated subaortic membrane. At a median follow-up of 9.3 years (interquartile range 0.6–22.5), 12 (14%) patients required one reoperation and 1 patient required two reoperations. Median time to first reoperation was 4.6 years. The degree of aortic valve regurgitation improved post-operatively from pre-operatively (p = 0.0007); however, the degree of aortic valve regurgitation worsened over the course of follow-up (p = 0.010) to equivalence with pre-operative aortic valve regurgitation (p = 0.18). Performance of a septal myectomy was associated with longer freedom from reoperation (p = 0.004).
In patients with isolated subaortic membranes, performance of a septal myectomy can minimise risk for reoperation. Patients should be serially monitored for degradation of the aortic valve, even if aortic regurgitation is not present post-operatively.
Anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery is the second leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest/death in young athletes in the United States of America. Limited data are available regarding family history in this patient population.
Patients were evaluated prospectively from 12/2012 to 02/2017 in the Coronary Anomalies Program at Texas Children’s Hospital. Relevant family history included the presence of CHD, sudden cardiac arrest/death, arrhythmia/pacemaker use, cardiomyopathy, and atherosclerotic coronary artery disease before the age of 50 years. The presence of one or more of these in 1st- or 2nd-degree relatives was considered significant.
Of 168 unrelated probands (171 patients total) included, 36 (21%) had significant family history involving 19 (53%) 1st-degree and 17 (47%) 2nd-degree relatives. Positive family history led to cardiology referral in nine (5%) patients and the presence of abnormal tests/symptoms in the remaining patients. Coronary anomalies in probands with positive family history were anomalous right (27), anomalous left (five), single right coronary artery (two), myocardial bridge (one), and anomalous circumflex coronary artery (one). Conditions present in their family members included sudden cardiac arrest/death (15, 42%), atherosclerotic coronary artery disease (14, 39%), cardiomyopathy (12, 33%), CHD (11, 31%), coronary anomalies (3, 8%), myocardial bridge (1, 3%), long-QT syndrome (2, 6%), and Wolff–Parkinson–White (1, 3%).
In patients with anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery and/or myocardial bridges, there appears to be familial clustering of cardiac diseases in approximately 20% of patients, half of these with early occurrence of sudden cardiac arrest/death in the family.
Pulmonary artery slings and vascular rings are very rare congenital anomalies. It is even rarer to have both anomalies in the same setting. We present a case of a toddler who was diagnosed with a left pulmonary artery sling and a vascular ring as part of the screening process for the VACTERL association – co-occurrence of vertebral, anorectal, cardiac, tracheoesophageal, renal, and limb malformations. He underwent a successful surgical repair via median sternotomy and on cardiopulmonary bypass with an uneventful postoperative course.
In the United States alone, ∼14,000 children are hospitalised annually with acute heart failure. The science and art of caring for these patients continues to evolve. The International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was held on February 4 and 5, 2015. The 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute was funded through the Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program Endowment, a philanthropic collaboration between All Children’s Hospital and the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida (USF). Sponsored by All Children’s Hospital Andrews/Daicoff Cardiovascular Program, the International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit assembled leaders in clinical and scientific disciplines related to paediatric heart failure and created a multi-disciplinary “think-tank”. The purpose of this manuscript is to summarise the lessons from the 2015 International Pediatric Heart Failure Summit of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute, to describe the “state of the art” of the treatment of paediatric cardiac failure, and to discuss future directions for research in the domain of paediatric cardiac failure.
A discrete subaortic membrane cannot only cause left ventricular outflow tract obstruction, but can grow onto the aortic valve leaflets. The late finding of this encroachment is aortic valve insufficiency or stenosis. Echocardiography is used to follow the progression of outflow tract obstruction, but its ability to show subaortic membrane encroachment onto the aortic valve is unclear. The purpose of this study is to determine the sensitivity and specificity of echocardiography for diagnosing whether a discrete subaortic membrane involves the aortic valve.
A pre-operative determination of aortic valve involvement by a discrete subaortic membrane was obtained by review of the official pre-operative echocardiogram reading and a retrospective blinded review of the pre-operative echocardiogram by an independent echocardiographer. These findings were compared to the intra-operative findings.
A total of 48 consecutive patients underwent primary resection for isolated discrete subaortic membrane between October, 1995 and May, 2006. The pre-operative and blinded readings both predicted a statistically lower rate of aortic valve involvement – 35% in 11 of 31 patients and 31% in 10 of 31 patients, respectively – than found at surgery – 65% in 31 of 48 patients. The sensitivity and specificity of pre-operative echocardiography to diagnose aortic valve involvement is 35% and 76%. Overall survival was 100%. There were no strokes, re-operations for bleeding or wound infections, or need for a pacemaker.
Echocardiography is not sensitive in assessing whether a discrete subaortic membrane involves the aortic valve. Since the morbidity and mortality for discrete subaortic membrane resection is negligible, resection may be indicated at the time of diagnosis to minimise aortic valve impairment.
Neonates with congenital cardiac disease are a special population. They are often critically ill, and need prolonged intravenous access. To date, no study has evaluated the efficacy and safety of peripherally inserted central venous catheters placed in this unique population. Our goal was to evaluate the use of such catheters in neonates with critical congenital cardiac disease, and to study features such as duration of use, reasons for removal of catheters, and complications. We inserted a total of 124 catheters in 115 neonates with critical congenital cardiac disease who were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Texas Children's Hospital from August 2002 to August 2004. The patients had a mean age of 10 days, and a mean weight of 3.1 kilograms. The peripherally inserted catheters were in place for a mean of 22.3 days. Therapy was completed in 76.6% patients at the time of removal of the catheter. The incidence of occlusion, dislodgement, and thrombus was 4.0%, 2.4%, and 1.6%, respectively. The infection rate was 3.6 per 1000 catheter-days, with a median onset on 37 days after placement. We conclude that central venous catheters, when inserted peripherally, provide reliable and safe access for prolonged intravenous therapy in neonates with critical congenital cardiac disease.
Background: Perceived correlation between the coronary arterial anatomy in patients with complete transposition, and the outcome of the arterial switch procedure, has made preoperative identification of their patterns standard practice. Purpose: Our purpose was to assess the accuracy of preoperative echocardiographic identification of coronary arterial patterns, to evaluate the necessity of preoperative imaging by angiography, and to determine the impact of the coronary arterial anatomy on outcome. Methods: We reviewed the medical records of all patients referred for an arterial switch operation between August 1995 and January 2000. The anatomy as described at the time of the operation using the Leiden convention was compared to the preoperative echocardiographic and angiographic findings. Results: The procedure had been performed in 67 patients, at a mean age of 9 days, with a range from 3 days to 15 months. In 42 patients, the ventricular septum was intact, while 21 patients had a ventricular septal defect, and the other four had double outlet right ventricle with the aorta anterior and rightward. In 52 patients, the left coronary artery arose from sinus #1, and the right from sinus #2. In 8 patients, the interventricular branch of the left coronary artery arose from sinus #1, with the circumflex coronary artery arising together with the right coronary artery from sinus #2. In three patients, all three coronary arteries arose from sinus #1, while in the remaining individual patients, a large conal branch arose with the left coronary artery from sinus #1, the right coronary and left anterior descending arteries arose from sinus #1, all three coronary arteries took origin from sinus #2, and the left anterior descending and right coronary artery arose from sinus #1 with no circumflex coronary artery identifiable, respectively. In two patients (4%), we identified an intramural coronary arterial course. Echocardiography and angiography were comparable (81% versus 86%) in delineating the coronary arterial anatomy. Patients with a single arterial orifice, or an atypical coronary arterial anatomy, had a slightly longer stay on the intensive care unit, and in the hospital, but showed no difference in mortality. In fact, there was no early mortality (70% confidence limits; 0–2.9%), while two patients died late (2.9%). Conclusion: We conclude that complex coronary arterial anatomy does not preclude a successful arterial switch procedure, although patients with a single coronary artery, or other arterial patterns, had a slightly longer hospital course. Preoperative echocardiographic evaluation is comparable to non-selective coronary angiography. Irrespective of complexity, nonetheless, the coronary arteries can successfully be translocated, obviating the need for preoperative coronary angiography.
Based on experience in several centers, the double switch operation has reportedly become the standard surgical therapy for congenitally corrected transposition. We report and discuss here the use of a “ventricle and a half” double switch operation performed due to the concerns raised intraoperatively because of the size of the morphologically right ventricle. Although the long-term course of such a procedure in this setting remains unknown, we submit that the proposed benefits of the double switch operation, even when used in the “ventricle and a half” configuration, may be superior to the alternatives.
Purpose: When there is partially anomalous pulmonary venous connection to the superior caval vein, intracardiac repair alone can result in obstruction. Although the Warden procedure involving translocation of the superior caval vein is commonly performed as an alternative to atriocavoplasty, follow-up of a larger number of patients in the modern era is lacking. We report and discuss the experience of a single institution with the Warden procedure for correction of partially anomalous pulmonary venous connection to the superior caval vein. Methods: Since 1995, all 16 patients presenting with partially anomalous pulmonary venous connection to the superior caval vein underwent the Warden procedure at a mean age of 7.1 ± 4.2 years, with a range from 0.2 to 14.3 years, and a mean weight of 24.7 ± 14.0 kg, with a range from 4.1 to 52.9 kg. There were 9 males and 7 females. In 8 patients, we performed 10 concomitant procedures, including closure of an atrial or ventricular septal defect in 7, and advancement of the aortic arch in the other. Results: There were no deaths, and only one episode of postoperative sinus bradycardia with intermittent junctional rhythm, which resolved spontaneously during temporary atrial pacing. All patients were discharged home in normal sinus rhythm at an average of 4.1 ± 2.2 days after the procedure, with a range from 2 to 10 days. All are currently in the first grade of the New York Heart Association up to 5.6 years postoperatively. There is currently no evidence of sinus nodal dysfunction, nor obstruction of the superior caval vein, in any patient. Conclusion: The Warden procedure for partially anomalous pulmonary venous connection to the superior caval vein produces excellent results, preserves the function of the sinus node, and should be routinely considered for the repair of this lesion.
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