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We evaluated the safety and feasibility of high-intensity interval training via a novel telemedicine ergometer (MedBIKE™) in children with Fontan physiology.
The MedBIKE™ is a custom telemedicine ergometer, incorporating a video game platform and live feed of patient video/audio, electrocardiography, pulse oximetry, and power output, for remote medical supervision and modulation of work. There were three study phases: (I) exercise workload comparison between the MedBIKE™ and a standard cardiopulmonary exercise ergometer in 10 healthy adults. (II) In-hospital safety, feasibility, and user experience (via questionnaire) assessment of a MedBIKE™ high-intensity interval training protocol in children with Fontan physiology. (III) Eight-week home-based high-intensity interval trial programme in two participants with Fontan physiology.
There was good agreement in oxygen consumption during graded exercise at matched work rates between the cardiopulmonary exercise ergometer and MedBIKE™ (1.1 ± 0.5 L/minute versus 1.1 ± 0.5 L/minute, p = 0.44). Ten youth with Fontan physiology (11.5 ± 1.8 years old) completed a MedBIKE™ high-intensity interval training session with no adverse events. The participants found the MedBIKE™ to be enjoyable and easy to navigate. In two participants, the 8-week home-based protocol was tolerated well with completion of 23/24 (96%) and 24/24 (100%) of sessions, respectively, and no adverse events across the 47 sessions in total.
The MedBIKE™ resulted in similar physiological responses as compared to a cardiopulmonary exercise test ergometer and the high-intensity interval training protocol was safe, feasible, and enjoyable in youth with Fontan physiology. A randomised-controlled trial of a home-based high-intensity interval training exercise intervention using the MedBIKE™ will next be undertaken.
To identify risk factors for loss to cardiology follow-up among children and young adults with congenital heart disease.
We used a matched case-control design. Cases were born before January, 2001 with moderate or complex congenital heart disease and were previously followed up in the paediatric or adult cardiology clinic, but not seen for 3 years or longer. Controls had been seen within 3 years. Controls were matched 3:1 to cases by year of birth and congenital heart disease lesion. Medical records were reviewed for potential risk factors for loss to follow-up. A subset of cases and controls participated in recorded telephone interviews.
A total of 74 cases (66% male) were compared with 222 controls (61% male). A history of missed cardiology appointments was predictive of loss to follow-up for 3 years or longer (odds ratio 13.0, 95% confidence interval 3.3–51.7). Variables protective from loss to follow-up were higher family income (odds ratio 0.87 per $10,000 increase, 0.77–0.98), cardiac catheterisation within 5 years (odds ratio 0.2, 95% confidence interval 0.1–0.6), and chart documentation of the need for cardiology follow-up (odds ratio 0.4, 95% confidence interval 0.2–0.8). Cases lacked awareness of the importance of follow-up and identified primary care physicians as their primary source of information about the heart, rather than cardiologists. Unlike cases, controls had methods to remember appointments.
A history of one or more missed cardiology appointments predicted loss to follow-up for 3 or more years, as did lack of awareness of the need for follow-up. Higher family income, recent catheterisations, and medical record documentation of the need for follow-up were protective.
Improvements in long-term survival of children undergoing the Norwood staged procedure and the arterial switch operation have resulted in the need to prepare these at-risk children for each stage of their developmental trajectory, including school readiness. This study describes and compares functional outcomes following the Norwood staged procedure and arterial switch operations.
This prospective inception cohort study comprised a sample of 73 children (71% boys) who had the Norwood staged procedure (n = 28) or the arterial switch operation (n = 45) at the age of 6 weeks or younger at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, between 2002 and 2005. We excluded children who had chromosomal abnormalities or cerebral palsy. When children were 18–24 months of age, parents completed the Adaptive Behavioral Assessment System II. Standard scores for the domains are mean 100, standard deviation (15); skill area scaled scores, 10 (3). Student’s t-test with Bonferonni correction was used to compare groups.
This population has greater than four times the number of children delayed on the General Adaptive Composite than the normative group. Functional outcomes were similar in the two groups other than those of home living (Norwood: 8.8 (2.8) compared with arterial switch: 11.2 (3.1), t = 3.389, p = 0.001) and self-care (Norwood: 5.9 (3.5) versus arterial switch: 8.1 (2.6), t = 3.140, p = 0.002).
These survivors are at increased risk for delayed functional abilities. Self-care, necessary for independence and confidence as children reach school age, was particularly low in the Norwood group. Reasons for low self-care abilities require further study.
Developing technology affords children with complex congenitally malformed hearts a chance for survival. Parents gratefully pursue life-saving options on behalf of their children, despite the risks to the life of their child, and uncertainty about outcomes. Little is known about how mothers and fathers experience parenting a child whose new state as a survivor may include less than optimal developmental sequels.
Our study involved multiple interactive interviews with 9 mothers and 7 fathers of infants and preschool children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome who had survived the Norwood surgical approach. Qualitative methodology included grounded theory methods of simultaneous collection and analysis of data, and we used open and selective coding of transcribed interviews.
Parents used normalization in the context of uncertainty regarding the ongoing survival of their child. Parents described their underweight children as being on their own growth curve, and viewed their developmental progress, however delayed, as reason for celebration, as they had been prepared for their child to die.
There is growing evidence that children with congenitally malformed hearts who require surgical intervention during the first year of life may experience developmental delay. The use of normalization by their parents may be effective in decreasing their worry regarding the uncertain future faced by their child, but may negatively affect the developmental progress of the child if they do not seek resources to assist development. Advice from paediatric specialists for parents to view their children as normal needs to be balanced with assistance for parents to access services to support optimal growth and development of their child.
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