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Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) can face neurodevelopmental, psychological, and behavioural difficulties beginning in infancy and continuing through adulthood. Despite overall improvements in medical care and a growing focus on neurodevelopmental screening and evaluation in recent years, neurodevelopmental disabilities, delays, and deficits remain a concern. The Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative was founded in 2016 with the goal of improving neurodevelopmental outcomes for individuals with CHD and pediatric heart disease. This paper describes the establishment of a centralised clinical data registry to standardize data collection across member institutions of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative. The goal of this registry is to foster collaboration for large, multi-centre research and quality improvement initiatives that will benefit individuals and families with CHD and improve their quality of life. We describe the components of the registry, initial research projects proposed using data from the registry, and lessons learned in the development of the registry.
The Residual Lesion Score is a novel tool for assessing the achievement of surgical objectives in congenital heart surgery based on widely available clinical and echocardiographic characteristics. This article describes the methodology used to develop the Residual Lesion Score from the previously developed Technical Performance Score for five common congenital cardiac procedures using the RAND Delphi methodology.
A panel of 11 experts from the field of paediatric and congenital cardiology and cardiac surgery, 2 co-chairs, and a consultant were assembled to review and comment on validity and feasibility of measuring the sub-components of intraoperative and discharge Residual Lesion Score for five congenital cardiac procedures. In the first email round, the panel reviewed and commented on the Residual Lesion Score and provided validity and feasibility scores for sub-components of each of the five procedures. In the second in-person round, email comments and scores were reviewed and the Residual Lesion Score revised. The modified Residual Lesion Score was scored independently by each panellist for validity and feasibility and used to develop the “final” Residual Lesion Score.
The Residual Lesion Score sub-components with a median validity score of ≥7 and median feasibility score of ≥4 that were scored without disagreement and with low absolute deviation from the median were included in the “final” Residual Lesion Score.
Using the RAND Delphi methodology, we were able to develop Residual Lesion Score modules for five important congenital cardiac procedures for the Pediatric Heart Network’s Residual Lesion Score study.
Noonan syndrome is an inherited disorder caused by alterations in the RAS-MAPK pathway. There have been several identified genotype–phenotype associations made with respect to congenital cardiac lesions and Noonan syndrome variants, but limited data exist regarding single ventricle disease in this population. Here, we report two patients with PTPN11-related Noonan syndrome and hypoplastic left heart syndrome variants.
To define the frequency and characteristics of acute neurologic complications in children hospitalised with infective endocarditis and to identify risk factors for neurologic complications.
Retrospective cohort study of children aged 0–18 years hospitalised at a tertiary children’s hospital from 1 January, 2008 to 31 December, 2017 with infective endocarditis.
Sixty-eight children met Duke criteria for infective endocarditis (43 definite and 25 possible). Twenty-three (34%) had identified neurologic complications, including intracranial haemorrhage (25%, 17/68) and ischaemic stroke (25%, 17/68). Neurologic symptoms began a median of 4.5 days after infective endocarditis symptom onset (interquartile range 1, 25 days), though five children were asymptomatic and diagnosed on screening neuroimaging only. Overall, only 56% (38/68) underwent neuroimaging during acute hospitalisation, so additional asymptomatic neurologic complications may have been missed. Children with identified neurologic complications compared to those without were older (48 versus 22% ≥ 13 years old, p = 0.031), more often had definite rather than possible infective endocarditis (96 versus 47%, p < 0.001), mobile vegetations >10mm (30 versus 11%, p = 0.048), and vegetations with the potential for systemic embolisation (65 versus 29%, p = 0.004). Six children died (9%), all of whom had neurologic complications.
Neurologic complications of infective endocarditis were common (34%) and associated with mortality. The true frequency of neurologic complications was likely higher because asymptomatic cases may have been missed without screening neuroimaging. Moving forward, we advocate that all children with infective endocarditis have neurologic consultation, examination, and screening neuroimaging. Additional prospective studies are needed to determine whether early identification of neurologic abnormalities may direct management and ultimately reduce neurologic morbidity and overall mortality.
Nearly one in five children with CHD is born with white matter injury that can be recognised on postnatal MRI by the presence of T1 hyperintense lesions. This pattern of white matter injury is known to portend poor neurodevelopmental outcomes, but the exact aetiology and histologic characterisation of these lesions have never been described. A fetal sheep was cannulated at gestational age 110 days onto a pumpless extracorporeal oxygenator via the umbilical vessels and supported in a fluid environment for 14.5 days. The fetus was supported under hypoxic conditions (mean oxygen delivery 16 ml/kg/day) to simulate the in utero conditions of CHD. At necropsy, the brain was fixed, imaged with MRI, and then stained to histologically identify areas of injury. Under hypoxemic in utero conditions, the fetus developed a T1 hyperintense lesion in its right frontal lobe. Histologically, this lesion was characterised by microvascular proliferation and astrocytosis without gliosis. These findings may provide valuable insight into the aetiology of white matter injury in neonates with CHD.
CHD is an important phenotypic feature of chromosome 22q11.2 copy number variants. Biventricular repair is usually possible, however there are rare reports of patients with chromosome 22q copy number variants and functional single ventricle cardiac disease.
This is a single centre retrospective review of patients with chromosome 22q copy number variants who underwent staged single ventricle reconstructive surgery between 1 July, 1984 and 31 December, 2020.
Seventeen patients met inclusion criteria. The most common diagnosis was hypoplastic left heart syndrome (n = 8) and vascular anomalies were present in 13 patients. A microdeletion of the chromosome 22 A-D low-copy repeat was present in 13 patients, and the remaining had a duplication. About half of the patients had documented craniofacial abnormalities and/or hypocalcaemia, and developmental delay was very common. Fifteen patients had a Norwood operation, 10 patients had a superior cavopulmonary anastomosis, and 7 patients had a Fontan. Two patients had cardiac transplantation after Fontan. Overall survival is 64% at 1 year, and 58% at 5 and 10 years. Most deaths occurred following Norwood operation (n = 5).
CHD necessitating single ventricle reconstruction associated with chromosome 22q copy number variants is not common, but typically occurs as a variant of hypoplastic left heart syndrome with the usual cytogenetic microdeletion. The most common neonatal surgical intervention performed is the Norwood, where most of the mortality burden occurs. Associated anomalies and medical issues may cause additional morbidity after cardiac surgery, but survival is similar to infants with other types of single ventricle disease.
The objective of this study was to investigate changes in serum biomarkers of acute brain injury, including white matter and astrocyte injury during chronic foetal hypoxaemia. We have previously shown histopathological changes in myelination and neuronal density in fetuses with chronic foetal hypoxaemia at a level consistent with CHD.
Mid-gestation foetal sheep (110 ± 3 days gestation) were cannulated and attached to a pumpless, low-resistance oxygenator circuit, and incubated in a sterile fluid environment mimicking the intrauterine environment. Fetuses were maintained with an oxygen delivery of 20–25 ml/kg/min (normoxemia) or 14–16 ml/kg/min (hypoxaemia). Myelin Basic Protein and Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein serum levels in the two groups were assessed by ELISA at baseline and at 7, 14, and 21 days of support.
Based on overlapping 95% confidence intervals, there were no statistically significant differences in either Myelin Basic Protein or Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein serum levels between the normoxemic and hypoxemic groups, at any time point. No statistically significant correlations were observed between oxygen delivery and levels of Myelin Basic Protein and Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein.
Chronic foetal hypoxaemia during mid-gestation is not associated with elevated serum levels of acute white matter (Myelin Basic Protein) or astrocyte injury (Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein), in this model. In conjunction with our previously reported findings, our data support the hypothesis that the brain dysmaturity with impaired myelination found in fetuses with chronic hypoxaemia is caused by disruption of normal developmental pathways rather than by direct cellular injury.
Substantial progress has been made in the standardization of nomenclature for paediatric and congenital cardiac care. In 1936, Maude Abbott published her Atlas of Congenital Cardiac Disease, which was the first formal attempt to classify congenital heart disease. The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC) is now utilized worldwide and has most recently become the paediatric and congenital cardiac component of the Eleventh Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The most recent publication of the IPCCC was in 2017. This manuscript provides an updated 2021 version of the IPCCC.
The International Society for Nomenclature of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (ISNPCHD), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), developed the paediatric and congenital cardiac nomenclature that is now within the eleventh version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). This unification of IPCCC and ICD-11 is the IPCCC ICD-11 Nomenclature and is the first time that the clinical nomenclature for paediatric and congenital cardiac care and the administrative nomenclature for paediatric and congenital cardiac care are harmonized. The resultant congenital cardiac component of ICD-11 was increased from 29 congenital cardiac codes in ICD-9 and 73 congenital cardiac codes in ICD-10 to 318 codes submitted by ISNPCHD through 2018 for incorporation into ICD-11. After these 318 terms were incorporated into ICD-11 in 2018, the WHO ICD-11 team added an additional 49 terms, some of which are acceptable legacy terms from ICD-10, while others provide greater granularity than the ISNPCHD thought was originally acceptable. Thus, the total number of paediatric and congenital cardiac terms in ICD-11 is 367. In this manuscript, we describe and review the terminology, hierarchy, and definitions of the IPCCC ICD-11 Nomenclature. This article, therefore, presents a global system of nomenclature for paediatric and congenital cardiac care that unifies clinical and administrative nomenclature.
The members of ISNPCHD realize that the nomenclature published in this manuscript will continue to evolve. The version of the IPCCC that was published in 2017 has evolved and changed, and it is now replaced by this 2021 version. In the future, ISNPCHD will again publish updated versions of IPCCC, as IPCCC continues to evolve.
The contribution of neonatal cyanosis, inherent to cyanotic congenital heart disease, to the magnitude of neurologic injury during deep hypothermic circulatory arrest has not been fully delineated. This study investigates the impact of cyanosis and deep hypothermic circulatory arrest on brain injury.
Neonatal piglets were randomised to placement of a pulmonary artery to left atrium shunt to create cyanosis or sham thoracotomy. At day 7, animals were randomised to undergo deep hypothermic circulatory arrest or sham. Arterial oxygen tension and haematocrit were obtained. Neurobehavioural performance was serially assessed. The animals were sacrificed on day 14. Brain tissue was assessed for neuronal necrosis using a 5-point histopathologic score.
Four experimental groups were analysed (sham, n = 10; sham + deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, n = 8; shunt, n = 9; shunt + deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, n = 7). Cyanotic piglets had significantly higher haematocrit and lower partial pressure of oxygen at day 14 than non-cyanotic piglets. There were no statistically significant differences in neurobehavioural scores at day 1. However, shunt + deep hypothermic circulatory arrest piglets had evidence of greater neuronal injury than sham animals (median (range): 2 (0–4) versus 0 (0–0), p = 0.02).
Cyanotic piglets undergoing deep hypothermic circulatory arrest had increased neuronal injury compared to sham animals. Significant injury was not seen for either cyanosis or deep hypothermic circulatory arrest alone relative to shams. These findings suggest an interaction between cyanosis and deep hypothermic circulatory arrest and may partially explain the suboptimal neurologic outcomes seen in children with cyanotic heart disease who undergo deep hypothermic circulatory arrest.
Over the last two decades, heart centres have developed strategies to meet the neurodevelopmental needs of children with congenital heart disease. Since the publication of guidelines in 2012, cardiac neurodevelopmental follow-up programmes have become more widespread. Local neurodevelopmental programmes, however, have been developed independently in widely varying environments. We sought to characterise variation in structure and personnel in cardiac neurodevelopmental programmes. A 31-item survey was sent to all member institutions of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative. Multidisciplinary teams at each centre completed the survey. Responses were compiled in a descriptive fashion. Of the 29 invited centres, 23 responded to the survey (79%). Centres reported more anticipated neurodevelopment visits between birth and 5 years of age (median 5, range 2–8) than 5–18 years (median 2, range 0–10) with 53% of centres lacking any standard for routine neurodevelopment evaluations after 5 years of age. Estimated annual neurodevelopment clinic volume ranged from 85 to 428 visits with a median of 16% of visits involving children >5 years of age. Among responding centres, the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development and Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence were the most routinely used tests. Neonatal clinical assessment was more common (64%) than routine neonatal brain imaging (23%) during hospitalisation. In response to clinical need and published guidelines, centres have established formal cardiac neurodevelopment follow-up programmes. Centres vary considerably in their approaches to routine screening and objective testing, with many centres currently focussing their resources on evaluating younger patients.
Recent years have seen an exponential increase in the variety of healthcare data captured across numerous sources. However, mechanisms to leverage these data sources to support scientific investigation have remained limited. In 2013 the Pediatric Heart Network (PHN), funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, developed the Integrated CARdiac Data and Outcomes (iCARD) Collaborative with the goals of leveraging available data sources to aid in efficiently planning and conducting PHN studies; supporting integration of PHN data with other sources to foster novel research otherwise not possible; and mentoring young investigators in these areas. This review describes lessons learned through the development of iCARD, initial efforts and scientific output, challenges, and future directions. This information can aid in the use and optimisation of data integration methodologies across other research networks and organisations.
Veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is frequently used in patients with cardiac disease. We evaluated short-term outcomes and identified factors associated with hospital mortality in cardiac patients supported with veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
A retrospective review of patients supported with veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation at a university-affiliated children’s hospital was performed.
A total of 253 patients with cardiac disease managed with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation were identified; survival to discharge was 48%, which significantly improved from 39% in an earlier era (1995–2001) (p=0.01). Patients were categorised into surgical versus non-surgical groups on the basis of whether they had undergone cardiac surgery before or not, respectively. The most common indication for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation: 96 (51%) in the surgical group and 45 (68%) in the non-surgical group. In a multiple covariate analysis, single-ventricle physiology (p=0.01), duration of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (p<0.01), and length of hospital stay (p=0.03) were associated with hospital mortality. Weekend or night shift cannulation was associated with mortality in non-surgical patients (p=0.05).
We report improvement in survival compared with an earlier era in cardiac patients supported with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Single-ventricle physiology continues to negatively impact survival, along with evidence of organ dysfunction during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, duration of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and length of stay.
An internationally approved and globally used classification scheme for the diagnosis of CHD has long been sought. The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC), which was produced and has been maintained by the International Society for Nomenclature of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (the International Nomenclature Society), is used widely, but has spawned many “short list” versions that differ in content depending on the user. Thus, efforts to have a uniform identification of patients with CHD using a single up-to-date and coordinated nomenclature system continue to be thwarted, even if a common nomenclature has been used as a basis for composing various “short lists”. In an attempt to solve this problem, the International Nomenclature Society has linked its efforts with those of the World Health Organization to obtain a globally accepted nomenclature tree for CHD within the 11th iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The International Nomenclature Society has submitted a hierarchical nomenclature tree for CHD to the World Health Organization that is expected to serve increasingly as the “short list” for all communities interested in coding for congenital cardiology. This article reviews the history of the International Classification of Diseases and of the IPCCC, and outlines the process used in developing the ICD-11 congenital cardiac disease diagnostic list and the definitions for each term on the list. An overview of the content of the congenital heart anomaly section of the Foundation Component of ICD-11, published herein in its entirety, is also included. Future plans for the International Nomenclature Society include linking again with the World Health Organization to tackle procedural nomenclature as it relates to cardiac malformations. By doing so, the Society will continue its role in standardising nomenclature for CHD across the globe, thereby promoting research and better outcomes for fetuses, children, and adults with congenital heart anomalies.
We have previously shown that the minor alleles of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2758331 are both associated with improved transplant-free survival after surgery for CHD in infants, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesised that one or both of these minor alleles are associated with better systemic ventricular function, resulting in improved survival.
This study is a follow-up analysis of 422 non-syndromic CHD patients who underwent neonatal cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Echocardiographic reports were reviewed. Systemic ventricular function was subjectively categorised as normal, or as mildly, moderately, or severely depressed. The change in function was calculated as the change from the preoperative study to the last available study. Stepwise linear regression, adjusting for covariates, was performed for the outcome of change in ventricular function. Model comparison was performed using Akaike’s information criterion. Only variables that improved the model prediction of change in systemic ventricular function were retained in the final model.
Genetic and echocardiographic data were available for 335/422 subjects (79%). Of them, 33 (9.9%) developed worse systemic ventricular function during a mean follow-up period of 13.5 years. After covariate adjustment, the presence of the VEGFA minor allele was associated with preserved ventricular function (p=0.011).
These data support the hypothesis that the mechanism by which the VEGFA single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 minor allele improves survival may be the preservation of ventricular function. Further studies are needed to validate this genotype–phenotype association and to determine whether this mechanism is related to increased vascular endothelial growth factor production.
Pulmonary lymphangiectasia associated with hypoplastic left heart syndrome with an intact or restrictive atrial septum may result from increased left atrial pressure, and is associated with worse outcomes following staged reconstruction due to lung dysfunction and significant hypoxaemia. Our objective was to characterise the incidence of pulmonary lymphangiectasia in cases of early mortality following stage 1 reconstructions.
An institutional cardiac surgical database was retrospectively searched for patients who died within 30 days following a stage 1 reconstruction between 1 January, 1984 and 31 December, 2013. During that period, 1669 stage 1 procedures were performed. Autopsy lung specimens were reviewed by a paediatric pathologist. Patients who died of suspected technical issues were excluded.
A total of 54 patients were included, and of these seven cases (8.5%) of pulmonary lymphangiectasia were identified. The mean estimated gestational age was 38.2±2.4 weeks, and the mean birth weight was 3.0±0.6 kg. The median interval between surgery and death was 1 day (with a range from 0 to 18 days). The atrial septum was intact in one patient (14.3%), restrictive in three patients (42.9%), and unrestrictive in three patients (42.9%).
Pulmonary lymphangiectasia may develop in hypoplastic left heart syndrome with or without a restrictive atrial septum. As standard prenatal diagnostic evaluations and treatment methods for pulmonary lymphangiectasia are limited, this may be an important contributor to early and late mortality following stage 1 reconstruction for hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
With improvements in early survival following congenital heart surgery, it has become increasingly important to understand longer-term outcomes; however, routine collection of these data is challenging and remains very limited. We describe the development and initial results of a collaborative programme incorporating standardised longitudinal follow-up into usual care at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and University of Michigan (UM).
We included children undergoing benchmark operations of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Considerations regarding personnel, patient/parent engagement, funding, regulatory issues, and annual data collection are described, and initial follow-up rates are reported.
The present analysis included 1737 eligible patients undergoing surgery at CHOP from January 2007 to December 2014 and 887 UM patients from January 2010 to December 2014. Overall, follow-up data, of any type, were obtained from 90.8% of patients at CHOP (median follow-up 4.3 years, 92.2% survival) and 98.3% at UM (median follow-up 2.8 years, 92.7% survival), with similar rates across operations and institutions. Most patients lost to follow-up at CHOP had undergone surgery before 2010. Standardised questionnaires assessing burden of disease/quality of life were completed by 80.2% (CHOP) and 78.4% (UM) via phone follow-up. In subsequent pilot testing of an automated e-mail system, 53.4% of eligible patients completed the follow-up questionnaire through this system.
Standardised follow-up data can be obtained on the majority of children undergoing benchmark operations. Ongoing efforts to support automated electronic systems and integration with registry data may reduce resource needs, facilitate expansion across centres, and support multi-centre efforts to understand and improve long-term outcomes in this population.
The anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery from the wrong sinus of Valsalva with an interarterial, intramural, and/or intraconal course is a relatively rare congenital defect of the heart that may be associated with an increased risk of ischaemia of the myocardium and sudden death, notably in children and young adults. Data are limited regarding stratification of risk and long-term outcomes of these patients. In 2009, the Anomalous Coronary Artery Working Group formed the Congenital Heart Surgeons’ Society Registry of Anomalous Aortic Origin of a Coronary Artery to obtain information on large numbers of young patients with anomalous aortic origin of a coronary artery with the goal to better understand the natural and surgical history of this anomaly as well as to develop evidence-based treatment and management guidelines. In this report, we describe the data we have collected from the registry and the current state of the registry.
Clinical databases in congenital and paediatric cardiac care provide a foundation for quality improvement, research, policy evaluations and public reporting. Structured audits verifying data integrity allow database users to be confident in these endeavours. We report on the initial audit of the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC4) clinical registry.
Materials and methods
Participants reviewed the entire registry to determine key fields for audit, and defined major and minor discrepancies for the audited variables. In-person audits at the eight initial participating centres were conducted during a 12-month period. The data coordinating centre randomly selected intensive care encounters for review at each site. The audit consisted of source data verification and blinded chart abstraction, comparing findings by the auditors with those entered in the database. We also assessed completeness and timeliness of case submission. Quantitative evaluation of completeness, accuracy, and timeliness of case submission is reported.
We audited 434 encounters and 29,476 data fields. The aggregate overall accuracy was 99.1%, and the major discrepancy rate was 0.62%. Across hospitals, the overall accuracy ranged from 96.3 to 99.5%, and the major discrepancy rate ranged from 0.3 to 0.9%; seven of the eight hospitals submitted >90% of cases within 1 month of hospital discharge. There was no evidence for selective case omission.
Based on a rigorous audit process, data submitted to the PC4 clinical registry appear complete, accurate, and timely. The collaborative will maintain ongoing efforts to verify the integrity of the data to promote science that advances quality improvement efforts.
Despite many advances in recent years for patients with critical paediatric and congenital cardiac disease, significant variation in outcomes remains across hospitals. Collaborative quality improvement has enhanced the quality and value of health care across specialties, partly by determining the reasons for variation and targeting strategies to reduce it. Developing an infrastructure for collaborative quality improvement in paediatric cardiac critical care holds promise for developing benchmarks of quality, to reduce preventable mortality and morbidity, optimise the long-term health of patients with critical congenital cardiovascular disease, and reduce unnecessary resource utilisation in the cardiac intensive care unit environment. The Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC4) has been modelled after successful collaborative quality improvement initiatives, and is positioned to provide the data platform necessary to realise these objectives. We describe the development of PC4 including the philosophical, organisational, and infrastructural components that will facilitate collaborative quality improvement in paediatric cardiac critical care.
Although overall outcomes for children undergoing heart surgery have improved, there is a significant variation in outcomes across hospitals. This review discusses the variation in cost and outcomes across centres performing congenital heart surgery, potential underlying mechanisms, and efforts to reduce variation and improve outcome.