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The National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPC-QIC) lacks a rigorous enrollment audit process, unlike other collaborative networks. Most centers require individual families to consent to participate. It is unknown whether there is variation across centers or biases in enrollment.
We used the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC4) registry to assess enrollment rates in NPC-QIC for those centers participating in both registries using indirect identifiers (date of birth, date of admission, gender, and center) to match patient records. All infants born 1/1/2018–12/31/2020 and admitted 30 days of life were eligible. In PC4, all infants with a fundamental diagnosis of hypoplastic left heart or variant or who underwent a surgical or hybrid Norwood or variant were eligible. Standard descriptive statistics were used to describe the cohort and center match rates were plotted on a funnel chart.
Of 898 eligible NPC-QIC patients, 841 were linked to 1,114 eligible PC4 patients (match rate 75.5%) in 32 centers. Match rates were lower in patients of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity (66.1%, p = 0.005), and those with any specified chromosomal abnormality (57.4%, p = 0.002), noncardiac abnormality (67.8%, p = 0.005), or any specified syndrome (66.5%, p = 0.001). Match rates were lower for patients who transferred to another hospital or died prior to discharge. Match rates varied from 0 to 100% across centers.
It is feasible to match patients between the NPC-QIC and PC4 registries. Variation in match rates suggests opportunities for improvement in NPC-QIC patient enrollment.
Surgical care for CHD is increasingly available in low- and middle-income countries, and efforts to optimise outcomes are growing. This study characterises cardiac imaging and prenatal diagnosis infrastructure in this setting.
An infrastructure survey was administered to sites participating in the International Quality Improvement Collaborative for CHD. Questions regarding transthoracic, transesophageal and epicardial echocardiography, cardiac CT, cardiac magnetic resonance, prenatal screening and fetal echocardiography were included. Associations with in-hospital and 30-day mortality were assessed.
Thirty-seven sites in 17 countries responded. Programme size and geography varied considerably: < 250 cases (n = 13), 250–500 cases (n = 9), > 500 cases (n = 15); Americas (n = 13), Asia (n = 18), and Eastern Europe (n = 6). All had access to transthoracic echo. Most reported transesophageal and epicardial echocardiography availability (86 and 89%, respectively). Most (81%) had cardiac CT, but only 54% had cardiac magnetic resonance. A third reported impediments to imaging, including lack of portable machines, age/size-appropriate equipment and advanced cardiac imaging access and training. Only 19% of centres reported universal prenatal CHD screening in their catchment area, and only 46% always performed fetal echocardiography if screening raised concern for CHD. No statistically significant associations were identified between imaging modality availability and surgical outcomes.
Although access to echocardiography is available in most middle-income countries; advanced imaging modalities (cardiac CT and magnetic resonance) are not always accessible. Prenatal screening for CHD is low, and availability of fetal echocardiography is limited. Imaging infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries and associations with outcomes merits additional study.
Isomerism, also referred to as “heterotaxy” is a complex set of anatomic and functional perturbations. One of the most obvious manifestations of isomerism is the disturbance of organ arrangement, such that the thoracic organs are no longer asymmetric on the left and right. We report the case of a 14-year-old female in whom exercise-induced dyspnea led to a late diagnosis of left isomerism complicated by Abernethy malformation and portopulmonary hypertension. A comprehensive evaluation revealed two anatomic left lungs and hyparterial bronchi, bilateral left atria, an interrupted inferior caval vein with azygos continuation, multiple spleens, sinus node dysfunction, hepatic hypertrophy with focal nodular hyperplasia, and absence of the portal vein. Pulmonary vasodilator therapy was initiated resulting in clinical improvement. This case exhibits unique features including a late diagnosis of isomerism with Abernethy malformation and portopulmonary hypertension. The patient’s presentation, medical workup, and future treatment emphasise the importance of multidisciplinary care in children with complex multisystem disease. We review the multiple cardiac and extracardiac manifestations of isomerism.
New paediatric cardiology trainees are required to rapidly assimilate knowledge and gain clinical skills to which they have limited or no exposure during residency. The Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Boot Camp (PCBC) at Boston Children’s Hospital was designed to provide incoming fellows with an intensive exposure to congenital cardiac pathology and a broad overview of major areas of paediatric cardiology practice.
The PCBC curriculum was designed by core faculty in cardiac pathology, echocardiography, electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, exercise physiology, and cardiac intensive care. Individual faculty contributed learning objectives, which were refined by fellowship directors and used to build a programme of didactics, hands-on/simulation-based activities, and self-guided learning opportunities.
A total of 16 incoming fellows participated in the 4-week boot camp, with no concurrent clinical responsibilities, over 2 years. On the basis of pre- and post-PCBC surveys, 80% of trainees strongly agreed that they felt more prepared for clinical responsibilities, and a similar percentage felt that PCBC should be offered to future incoming fellows. Fellows showed significant increase in their confidence in all specific knowledge and skills related to the learning objectives. Fellows rated hands-on learning experiences and simulation-based exercises most highly.
We describe a novel 4-week-long boot camp designed to expose incoming paediatric cardiology fellows to the broad spectrum of knowledge and skills required for the practice of paediatric cardiology. The experience increased trainee confidence and sense of preparedness to begin fellowship-related responsibilities. Given that highly interactive activities were rated most highly, boot camps in paediatric cardiology should strongly emphasise these elements.
Recent efforts have focused on optimising interstage outcomes, including growth, for infants following the Norwood operation. The impact of the site of interstage care remains unclear, and it has been hypothesised that care at the surgical site may be beneficial due to greater access to resources such as nutritional support. This study evaluated the relationship between site of interstage care and weight gain in a large multicentre cohort.
Infants enrolled in the National Paediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative (2008–2013) surviving up to Stage 2 were included. Change in weight-for-age z-score between Norwood discharge and Stage 2 admission was compared in those receiving care at the surgical versus non-surgical site.
Of the 487 interstage survivors, 60% received all care at the surgical site, and 40% received care at a non-surgical site. There was no significant difference between groups in change in weight-for-age z-score: +0.36±0.96 for the surgical site group versus +0.46±1.02 for the non-surgical site group, p=0.3. Results were unchanged in multivariable analysis adjusting for differences in important baseline characteristics, duration of interstage, and home surveillance strategy. The proportion of all patients with weight-for-age z-score <−2 decreased from 40% at Norwood discharge to 29% at Stage 2, with no significant difference in change between the two groups (p=0.1).
The site of interstage care was not associated with weight gain during the interstage period. Nearly one-third of patients overall had a weight-for-age z-score <−2 at Stage 2. Further study is required to identify methods to optimise weight gain in these patients.
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