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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.
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.
Health-related quality of life in children who have undergone the Ross procedure has not been well characterised. The aim of this study was to characterise health-related quality of life in this cohort and compare to children with other CHD.
In this cross sectional, single-centre study, health-related quality of life was assessed in patients who underwent a non-neonatal Ross procedure using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory. Ross cohort scores were compared with healthy norms, patients with CHD requiring no surgical intervention or had curative surgery (Severity 2, S2) and patients who were surgically repaired with ≥1 surgical procedure and with significant residual lesion or need for additional surgery (Severity 3, S3). Associations between Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory score and patient factors were also examined.
68 patients completed surveys. Nearly one-sixth of patients had overall scores below the cut-off for at-risk status for impaired health-related quality of life. There was no difference in overall health-related quality of life score between the Ross cohort and healthy children (p = 0.56) and S2 cohort (p = 0.97). Health-related quality of life was significantly higher in the Ross cohort compared to S3 cohort (p = 0.02). This difference was driven by a higher psychosocial health-related quality of life in the Ross cohort as compared to S3 cohort (p = 0.007). Anxiety scores were significantly worse in the Ross cohort compared to both S2 (p = 0.001) and S3 (p = 0.0017), respectively.
Children who have undergone a Ross procedure report health-related quality of life equivalent to CHD not requiring therapy and superior to CHD with residual lesions. Despite these reassuring results, providers should be aware of potential anxiety among Ross patients.
The Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC4) is a multi-institutional quality improvement registry focused on the care delivered in the cardiac ICU for patients with CHD and acquired heart disease. To assess data quality, a rigorous procedure of data auditing has been in place since the inception of the consortium.
Materials and methods:
This report describes the data auditing process and quantifies the audit results for the initial 39 audits that took place after the transition from version one to version two of the registry’s database.
In total, 2219 total encounters were audited for an average of 57 encounters per site. The overall data accuracy rate across all sites was 99.4%, with a major discrepancy rate of 0.52%. A passing score is based on an overall accuracy of >97% (achieved by all sites) and a major discrepancy rate of <1.5% (achieved by 38 of 39 sites, with 35 of 39 sites having a major discrepancy rate of <1%). Fields with the highest discrepancy rates included arrhythmia type, cardiac arrest count, and current surgical status.
The extensive PC4 auditing process, including initial and routinely scheduled follow-up audits of every participating site, demonstrates an extremely high level of accuracy across a broad array of audited fields and supports the continued use of consortium data to identify best practices in paediatric cardiac critical care.
Neurodevelopmental impairment is increasingly recognised as a potentially disabling outcome of CHD and formal evaluation is recommended for high-risk patients. However, data are lacking regarding the proportion of eligible children who actually receive neurodevelopmental evaluation, and barriers to follow-up are unclear. We examined the prevalence and risk factors associated with failure to attend neurodevelopmental follow-up clinic after infant cardiac surgery.
Survivors of infant (<1 year) cardiac surgery at our institution (4/2011-3/2014) were included. Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics were evaluated in neurodevelopmental clinic attendees and non-attendees in univariate and multivariable analyses.
A total of 552 patients were included; median age at surgery was 2.4 months, 15% were premature, and 80% had moderate–severe CHD. Only 17% returned for neurodevelopmental evaluation, with a median age of 12.4 months. In univariate analysis, non-attendees were older at surgery, had lower surgical complexity, fewer non-cardiac anomalies, shorter hospital stay, and lived farther from the surgical center. Non-attendee families had lower income, and fewer were college graduates or had private insurance. In multivariable analysis, lack of private insurance remained independently associated with non-attendance (adjusted odds ratio 1.85, p=0.01), with a trend towards significance for distance from surgical center (adjusted odds ratio 2.86, p=0.054 for ⩾200 miles).
The majority of infants with CHD at high risk for neurodevelopmental dysfunction evaluated in this study are not receiving important neurodevelopmental evaluation. Efforts to remove financial/insurance barriers, increase access to neurodevelopmental clinics, and better delineate other barriers to receipt of neurodevelopmental evaluation are needed.
Children with single-ventricle disease experience high mortality and complex care. In other life-limiting childhood illnesses, paediatric palliative care may mitigate maternal stress. We hypothesised that early palliative care in the single-ventricle population may have the same benefit for mothers. In this pilot randomised trial of early palliative care, mothers of infants with prenatal single-ventricle diagnoses completed surveys measuring depression, anxiety, coping, and quality of life at a prenatal visit and neonatal discharge. Infants were randomised to receive early palliative care – structured evaluation, psychosocial/spiritual, and communication support before surgery – or standard care. Among 56 eligible mothers, 40 enrolled and completed baseline surveys; 38 neonates were randomised, 18 early palliative care and 20 standard care; and 34 postnatal surveys were completed. Baseline Beck Depression Inventory-II and State-Trait Anxiety Index scores exceeded normal pregnant sample scores (mean 13.76±8.46 versus 7.0±5.0 and 46.34±12.59 versus 29.8±6.35, respectively; p=0.0001); there were no significant differences between study groups. The early palliative care group had a decrease in prenatal to postnatal State-Trait Anxiety Index scores (−7.6 versus 0.3 in standard care, p=0.02), higher postnatal Brief Cope Inventory positive reframing scores (p=0.03), and a positive change in PedsQL Family Impact Module communication and family relationships scores (effect size 0.46 and 0.41, respectively). In conclusion, these data show that mothers of infants with single-ventricle disease experience significant depression and anxiety prenatally. Early palliative care resulted in decreased maternal anxiety, improved maternal positive reframing, and improved communication and family relationships.
Chylothorax after paediatric cardiac surgery incurs significant morbidity; however, a detailed understanding that does not rely on single-centre or administrative data is lacking. We described the present clinical epidemiology of postoperative chylothorax and evaluated variation in rates among centres with a multicentre cohort of patients treated in cardiac ICU.
This was a retrospective cohort study using prospectively collected clinical data from the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium registry. All postoperative paediatric cardiac surgical patients admitted from October, 2013 to September, 2015 were included. Risk factors for chylothorax and association with outcomes were evaluated using multivariable logistic or linear regression models, as appropriate, accounting for within-centre clustering using generalised estimating equations.
A total of 4864 surgical hospitalisations from 15 centres were included. Chylothorax occurred in 3.8% (n=185) of hospitalisations. Case-mix-adjusted chylothorax rates varied from 1.5 to 7.6% and were not associated with centre volume. Independent risk factors for chylothorax included age <1 year, non-Caucasian race, single-ventricle physiology, extracardiac anomalies, longer cardiopulmonary bypass time, and thrombosis associated with an upper-extremity central venous line (all p<0.05). Chylothorax was associated with significantly longer duration of postoperative mechanical ventilation, cardiac ICU and hospital length of stay, and higher in-hospital mortality (all p<0.001).
Chylothorax after cardiac surgery in children is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. A five-fold variation in chylothorax rates was observed across centres. Future investigations should identify centres most adept at preventing and managing chylothorax and disseminate best practices.
Large volumes of data and multiple computing platforms are now universal components of paediatric cardiovascular medicine, but are in a constant state of evolution. Often, multiple sets of related data reside in disconnected “silos”, resulting in clinical, administrative, and research activities that may be duplicative, inefficient, and at times inaccurate. Comprehensive and integrated data solutions are needed to facilitate these activities across congenital heart centres. We describe methodology, key considerations, successful use cases, and lessons learnt in developing an integrated data platform across our congenital heart centre.
The optimal perioperative feeding strategies for neonates with CHD are unknown. In the present study, we describe the current feeding practices across a multi-institutional cohort.
Inclusion criteria for this study were as follows: all neonates undergoing cardiac surgery admitted to the cardiac ICU for ⩾24 hours preoperatively between October, 2013 and July, 2014 in the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium registry.
The cohort included 251 patients from eight centres. The most common diagnoses included the following: hypoplastic left heart syndrome (17%), coarctation/aortic arch hypoplasia (18%), and transposition of the great arteries (22%); 14% of the patients were <37weeks of gestational age. The median total hospital length of stay was 21 days (interquartile range (IQR) 14–35) and overall mortality was 8%. Preoperative feeding occurred in 133 (53%) patients. The overall preoperative feeding rates across centres ranged from 29 to 79%. Postoperative feeds started on median day 2 (IQR 1–4); for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome postoperative feeds started on median day 4. Postoperative feeds were initiated in 89 (35%) patients before extubation (range across centres: 21–61%). The median cardiac ICU discharge feeding volume was 108 cc/kg/day, varying across centres. The mean discharge weight was 280 g above birth weight, ranging from +100 to 430 g across centres. A total of 110 (44%) patients had discharge feeding tubes, ranging from 6 to 80% across centres, and 40/110 patients had gastrostomy/enterostomy tubes placed. In addition, eight (3.2%) patients developed necrotising enterocolitis – three preoperatively and five postoperatively.
In this cohort, neonatal feeding practices and outcomes appear to vary across diagnostic groups and institutions. Only half of the patients received preoperative enteral nutrition; almost half had discharge feeding tubes. Multi-institutional collaboration is necessary to determine feeding strategies associated with best clinical outcomes.
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.
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.
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.
Background: The term “borderline left ventricle” describes a small left heart that may be inadequate to provide systemic cardiac output and implies the potential need for a single-ventricle palliation. The aim of this study was to identify foetal echocardiographic features that help discriminate which infants will undergo single-ventricle palliation versus biventricular repair to aid in prenatal counselling. Methods: The foetal database at our institution was searched to identify all foetuses with borderline left ventricle, as determined subjectively by a foetal cardiologist, from 2000 to 2011. The foetal images were retrospectively analysed for morphologic and physiologic features to determine which best predicted the postnatal surgical choice. Results: Of 39 foetuses identified with borderline left ventricle, 15 were planned for a univentricular approach, and 24 were planned for a biventricular approach. There were significant differences between the two outcome groups in the Z-scores of the mitral valve annulus, left ventricular end-diastolic dimension, aortic valve annulus, and ascending aorta diameter (p<0.05). With respect to discriminating univentricular outcomes, cut-offs of mitral valve Z-score ⩽−1.9 and tricuspid:mitral valve ratio ⩾1.5 were extremely sensitive (100%), whereas a right:left ventricular end-diastolic dimension ratio ⩾2.1 provided the highest specificity (95.8%). Conclusion: In foetuses with borderline left ventricle, a mitral valve Z-score ⩾−1.9 or a tricuspid:mitral valve ratio ⩽1.5 suggests a high probability of biventricular repair, whereas a right:left ventricular end-diastolic dimension ratio ⩾2.1 confers a likelihood of single-ventricle palliation.
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