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Derived from the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative registry, the NEONATE risk score predicted freedom from interstage mortality or heart transplant for patients with single ventricle CHD and aortic arch hypoplasia discharged home following Stage 1 palliation.
We sought to validate the score in an external, modern cohort.
This was a retrospective cohort analysis of single ventricle CHD and aortic arch hypoplasia patients enrolled in the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative Phase II registry from 2016 to 2020, who were discharged home after Stage 1 palliation. Points were allocated per the NEONATE score (Norwood type—Norwood/Blalock–Taussig shunt: 3, Hybrid: 12; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation post-op: 9, Opiates at discharge: 6, No Digoxin at discharge: 9, Arch Obstruction on discharge echo: 9, Tricuspid regurgitation ≥ moderate on discharge echo: 12; Extra oxygen plus ≥ moderate tricuspid regurgitation: 28). The composite primary endpoint was interstage mortality or heart transplant.
In total, 1026 patients met inclusion criteria; 61 (6%) met the primary outcome. Interstage mortality occurred in 44 (4.3%) patients at a median of 129 (IQR 62,195) days, and 17 (1.7%) were referred for heart transplant at a 167 (114,199) days of life. The median NEONATE score was 0(0,9) in those who survived to Stage 2 palliation compared to 9(0,15) in those who experienced interstage mortality or heart transplant (p < 0.001). Applying a NEONATE score cut-off of 17 points that separated patients into low- and high-risk groups in the learning cohort provided 91% specificity, negative predictive value of 95%, and overall accuracy of 87% (85.4–89.5%).
In a modern cohort of patients with single ventricle CHD and aortic arch hypoplasia, the NEONATE score remains useful at discharge post-Stage 1 palliation to predict freedom from interstage mortality or heart transplant.
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.
Interstage mortality causes are often unknown in infants with shunt-dependent univentricular defects. For 2 years, screening catheterisation was encouraged before neonatal discharge to determine if routine evaluation improved interstage outcomes.
Retrospective single-centre review of home monitoring programme from December, 2010 to June, 2012. Composite scores were created for physical examination/echocardiography risk factors; catheterisation risk factors; and interstage adverse events. Composite scores were compared between usual care and screening catheterisation groups. The ability of each risk factor composite to predict interstage adverse events, individually and in combination, was assessed with sensitivity, specificity, and receiver operating characteristic curves.
There were 27 usual care and 32 screening catheterisation patients. There were no significant differences between groups except rates of catheterisation before discharge (29.6 versus 100%, p < 0.001). Usual care patients who underwent catheterisation for clinical indications had higher intervention rates (37.5 versus 3.1%, p = 0.004). Physical examination/echocardiography risk factor frequency was similar, but usual care patients with catheterisation had a higher catheterisation risk factor frequency. Interstage adverse event frequency was similar (48.2 versus 53.1%, p = 0.7). For interstage adverse event prediction, sensitivity for the physical examination/echocardiography, catheterisation, and either risk factor composites was 53.3, 72, and 80%, respectively; specificity was 59, 60, and 48%. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.56, 0.66, and 0.64.
Screening catheterisation evaluation offered slightly increased sensitivity and specificity, but no difference in interstage adverse event frequency. Given this small advantage versus known risks, screening catheterisations are no longer encouraged.
To identify interstage best practices associated with lower mortality, we studied National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative centres registry using a positive deviance approach.
Positive deviant and control centre team members were interviewed to identify potential interstage best practices. Subsequently, all collaborative centres were surveyed on the use of these practices to test their associations with centre mortality. Questionnaires were scored using Likert scales; the overall score was linearly transformed to a 0–100-point scale with higher scores indicating increased use of practices. Mortality was based on patients enrolled after a centre’s first year in the collaborative. Centre mortality rates were divided into tertiles. Survey scores for the low mortality tertile were compared with the other tertiles.
For this study, seven positive deviant and four control teams were interviewed. A total of 20 potential best practices were identified, including team composition, improvement practices, and parent involvement. Questionnaires were completed by 36/43 eligible centres, providing 1504 patients for analysis. Average survey score was 50.2 (SD 13.4). Average mortality was 6.1% (SD 4.1). There was no correlation between survey scores and mortality (r=0.14, p=0.41). The one practice associated with the low mortality tertile was frequency of discussion of interstage results: 58.3% of low mortality teams discussed results at least monthly versus 8.4% of the middle and high tertile centres (p=0.02).
Low-mortality centres more frequently discuss interstage results than high-mortality centres. Heightened awareness of outcomes may influence practice; however, further study is needed to understand the variation in outcomes across centres.
Limited evidence exists to guide chest tube management following cardiac surgery in children. We assessed chest tube practice variation by surveying paediatric heart centres to prepare for a multi-site quality improvement project. We summarised management strategies highlighting variability in criteria for chest tube removal between and within centres. This lack of standardisation provides an opportunity for quality improvement.
Collaborative quality improvement and learning networks have amended healthcare quality and value across specialities. Motivated by these successes, the Pediatric Acute Care Cardiology Collaborative (PAC3) was founded in late 2014 with an emphasis on improving outcomes of paediatric cardiology patients within cardiac acute care units; acute care encompasses all hospital-based inpatient non-intensive care. PAC3 aims to deliver higher quality and greater value care by facilitating the sharing of ideas and building alignment among its member institutions. These aims are intentionally aligned with the work of other national clinical collaborations, registries, and parent advocacy organisations. The mission and early work of PAC3 is exemplified by the formal partnership with the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC4), as well as the creation of a clinical registry, which links with the PC4 registry to track practices and outcomes across the entire inpatient encounter from admission to discharge. Capturing the full inpatient experience allows detection of outcome differences related to variation in care delivered outside the cardiac ICU and development of benchmarks for cardiac acute care. We aspire to improve patient outcomes such as morbidity, hospital length of stay, and re-admission rates, while working to advance patient and family satisfaction. We will use quality improvement methodologies consistent with the Model for Improvement to achieve these aims. Membership currently includes 36 centres across North America, out of which 26 are also members of PC4. In this report, we describe the development of PAC3, including the philosophical, organisational, and infrastructural elements that will enable a paediatric acute care cardiology learning network.
Although interstage mortality for infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome has declined within the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative, variation across centres persists. It remains unclear whether centres with lower interstage mortality have lower-risk patients or whether differences in care may explain this variation. We examined previously established risk factors across National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative centres with lower and higher interstage mortality rates.
Lower-mortality centres were defined as those with >25 consecutive interstage survivors. Higher-mortality centres were defined as those with cumulative interstage mortality rates >10%, which is a collaborative historic baseline rate. Baseline risk factors and perioperative characteristics were compared.
Seven lower-mortality centres were identified (n=331 patients) and had an interstage mortality rate of 2.7%, as compared with 13.3% in the four higher-mortality centres (n=173 patients, p<0.0001). Of all baseline risk factors examined, the only factor that differed between the lower- and higher-mortality centres was postnatal diagnosis (18.4 versus 31.8%, p=0.001). In multivariable analysis, there remained a significant mortality difference between the two groups of centres after adjusting for this variable: adjusted mortality rate was 2.8% in lower-mortality centres compared with 12.6% in higher-mortality centres, p=0.003. Secondary analyses identified multiple differences between groups in perioperative practices and other variables.
Variation in interstage mortality rates between these two groups of centres does not appear to be explained by differences in baseline risk factors. Further study is necessary to evaluate variation in care practices to identify targets for improvement efforts.
National organisations in several countries have recently released more restrictive guidelines for infective endocarditis prophylaxis, including the American Heart Association 2007 guidelines. Initial studies demonstrated no change in infective endocarditis rates over time; however, a recent United Kingdom study suggested an increase; current paediatric trends are unknown.
Children (<18 years) hospitalised with infective endocarditis at 29 centres participating in the Pediatric Health Information Systems Database from 2003 to 2014 were eligible for inclusion. Our primary analysis focussed on infective endocarditis most directly related to the change in guidelines and included community-acquired cases in those >5 years of age. Interrupted time series analysis was used to evaluate rates over time indexed to total hospitalisations.
A total of 841 cases were identified. The median age was 13 years (interquartile range 9–15 years). In the pre-guideline period, there was a slight increase in the rate of infective endocarditis by 0.13 cases/10,000 hospitalisations per semi-annual period. In the post-guideline period, the rate of infective endocarditis increased by 0.12 cases/10,000 hospitalisations per semi-annual period. There was no significant difference in the rate of change in the pre- versus post-guidelines period (p=0.895). Secondary analyses in children >5 years of age with CHD and in children hospitalised with any type of infective endocarditis at any age revealed similar results.
We found no significant change in infective endocarditis hospitalisation rates associated with revised prophylaxis guidelines over 11 years across 29 United States children’s hospitals.
To assess the resource utilization associated with sepsis syndrome in academic medical centers.
Prospective cohort study.
Eight academic, tertiary-care centers.
Stratified random sample of 1,028 adult admissions with sepsis syndrome and all 248,761 other adult admissions between January 1993 and April 1994. The main outcome measures were length of stay (LOS) in total and after onset of sepsis syndrome (post-onset LOS) and total hospital charges.
The mean LOS for patients with sepsis was 27.7 ± 0.9 days (median, 20 days), with sepsis onset occurring after a mean of 8.1 ± 0.4 days (median, 3 days). For all patients without sepsis, the LOS was 7.2 ± 0.03 days (median, 4 days). In multiple linear regression models, the mean for patients with sepsis syndrome was 18.2 days, which was 11.0 days longer than the mean for all other patients (P < .0001), whereas the mean difference in total charges was $43,000 (both P < .0001). These differences were greater for patients with nosocomial as compared with community-acquired sepsis, although the groups were similar after adjusting for pre-onset LOS. Eight independent correlates of increased post-onset LOS and 12 correlates of total charges were identified.
These data quantify the resource utilization associated with sepsis syndrome, and demonstrate that resource utilization is high in this group. Additional investigation is required to determine how much of the excess post-onset LOS and charges are attributable to sepsis syndrome rather than the underlying medical conditions.
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