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Compare rates, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of paediatric palliative care consultation in children supported on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation admitted to a single-centre 16-bed cardiac or a 28-bed paediatric ICU.
Retrospective review of clinical characteristics and outcomes of children (aged 0–21 years) supported on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation between January, 2017 and December, 2019 compared by palliative care consultation.
Measurements and results:
One hundred children (N = 100) were supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; 19% received a palliative care consult. Compared to non-consulted children, consulted children had higher disease severity measured by higher complex chronic conditions at the end of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation hospitalisation (5 versus. 3; p < 0.001), longer hospital length of stay (92 days versus 19 days; p < 0.001), and higher use of life-sustaining therapies after decannulation (79% versus 23%; p < 0.001). Consultations occurred mainly for longitudinal psychosocial-spiritual support after patient survived device deployment with a median of 27 days after cannulation. Most children died in the ICU after withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies regardless of consultation status. Over two-thirds of the 44 deaths (84%; n = 37) occurred during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation hospitalisation.
Palliative care consultation was rare showing that palliative care consultation was not viewed as an acute need and only considered when the clinical course became protracted. As a result, there are missed opportunities to involve palliative care earlier and more frequently in the care of extracorporeal membrane survivors and non-survivors and their families.
Retrospectively apply criteria from Center to Advance Palliative Care to a cohort of children treated in a cardiac ICU and compare children who received a palliative care consultation to those who were eligible for but did not receive one.
Medical records of children admitted to a cardiac ICU between January 2014 and June 2017 were reviewed. Selected criteria include cardiac ICU length of stay >14 days and/or ≥ 3 hospitalisations within a 6-month period.
Measurements and Results:
A consultation occurred in 17% (n = 48) of 288 eligible children. Children who received a consult had longer cardiac ICU (27 days versus 17 days; p < 0.001) and hospital (91 days versus 35 days; p < 0.001) lengths of stay, more complex chronic conditions at the end of first hospitalisation (3 versus1; p < 0.001) and the end of the study (4 vs.2; p < 0.001), and higher mortality (42% versus 7%; p < 0.001) when compared with the non-consulted group. Of the 142 pre-natally diagnosed children, only one received a pre-natal consult and 23 received it post-natally. Children who received a consultation (n = 48) were almost 2 months of age at the time of the consult.
Less than a quarter of eligible children received a consultation. The consultation usually occurred in the context of medical complexity, high risk of mortality, and at an older age, suggesting potential opportunities for more and earlier paediatric palliative care involvement in the cardiac ICU. Screening criteria to identify patients for a consultation may increase the use of palliative care services in the cardiac ICU.
Our primary goal was to decrease time to resolution of postoperative chylothorax as demonstrated by total days of chest tube utilisation through development and implementation of a management protocol.
A chylothorax management protocol was implemented as a quality improvement project at a tertiary-care paediatric hospital in July, 2015. Retrospective analysis was completed on patients aged 0–17 years diagnosed with chylothorax within 30 days of cardiac surgery in a pre-protocol cohort (February, 2014 to June, 2015, n=20) and a post-protocol cohort (July, 2015 to March, 2016, n=22).
Measurements and results
Patient characteristics were similar before and after protocol implementation. Duration of mechanical ventilation and cardiac ICU and hospital lengths of stay were unchanged between cohorts. Following protocol implementation, total duration of chest tube utilisation decreased from 12 to 7 days (p=0.047) with a decrease in maximum days of chest tube utilisation from 44 to 13 days. Duration of medium-chain triglyceride feeds decreased from 42 days to 31 days (p=0.01). In total, three patients in the post-protocol cohort underwent additional surgical procedures to treat chylothorax with subsequent resolution of chylothorax within 24 hours. There were no chest tube re-insertions or re-admissions related to chylothorax in either the pre- or post-protocol cohorts. Protocol compliance was 81%.
Adoption of a chylothorax management protocol is feasible, and in our small cohort of patients implementation led to a significant decrease in the duration of chest tube utilisation, while eliminating practice variability among providers.
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