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To define the incidence of definitive necrotising enterocolitis in term infants with CHD and identify risk factors for morbidity/mortality.
We performed a 20-year (2000–2020) single-institution retrospective cohort study of term infants with CHD admitted to the Boston Children’s Hospital cardiac ICU with necrotising enterocolitis (Bell’s stage ≥ II). The primary outcome was a composite of in-hospital mortality and post-necrotising enterocolitis morbidity (need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, multisystem organ failure based on the paediatric sequential organ failure assessment score, and/or need for acute gastrointestinal intervention). Predictors included patient characteristics, cardiac diagnosis/interventions, feeding regimen, and severity measures.
Of 3933 term infants with CHD, 2.1% (n = 82) developed necrotising enterocolitis, with 67% diagnosed post-cardiac intervention. Thirty (37%) met criteria for the primary outcome. In-hospital mortality occurred in 14 infants (17%), of which nine (11%) deaths were attributable to necrotising enterocolitis. Independent predictors of the primary outcome included moderate to severe systolic ventricular dysfunction (odds ratio 13.4,confidence intervals 1.13–159) and central line infections pre-necrotising enterocolitis diagnosis (odds ratio 17.7, confidence intervals 3.21–97.0) and mechanical ventilation post-necrotising enterocolitis diagnosis (odds ratio 13.5, confidence intervals 3.34–54.4). Single ventricle, ductal dependency, and feeding related factors were not independently associated with the primary outcome.
The incidence of necrotising enterocolitis was 2.1% in term infants with CHD. Adverse outcomes occurred in greater than 30% of patients. Presence of systolic dysfunction and central line infections prior to diagnosis and need for mechanical ventilation after diagnosis of necrotising enterocolitis can inform risk triage and prognostic counseling for families.
Following stage 1 palliation, delayed sternal closure may be used as a technique to enhance thoracic compliance but may also prolong the length of stay and increase the risk of infection.
We reviewed all neonates undergoing stage 1 palliation at our institution between 2010 and 2017 to describe the effects of delayed sternal closure.
During the study period, 193 patients underwent stage 1 palliation, of whom 12 died before an attempt at sternal closure. Among the 25 patients who underwent primary sternal closure, 4 (16%) had sternal reopening within 24 hours. Among the 156 infants who underwent delayed sternal closure at 4 [3,6] days post-operatively, 11 (7.1%) had one or more failed attempts at sternal closure. Patients undergoing primary sternal closure had a shorter duration of mechanical ventilation and intensive care unit length of stay. Patients who failed delayed sternal closure had a longer aortic cross-clamp time (123±42 versus 99±35 minutes, p=0.029) and circulatory arrest time (39±28 versus 19±17 minutes, p=0.0009) than those who did not fail. Failure of delayed sternal closure was also closely associated with Technical Performance Score: 1.3% of patients with a score of 1 failed sternal closure compared with 18.9% of patients with a score of 3 (p=0.0028). Among the haemodynamic and ventilatory parameters studied, only superior caval vein saturation following sternal closure was different between patients who did and did not fail sternal closure (30±7 versus 42±10%, p=0.002). All patients who failed sternal closure did so within 24 hours owing to hypoxaemia, hypercarbia, or haemodynamic impairment.
When performed according to our current clinical practice, sternal closure causes transient and mild changes in haemodynamic and ventilatory parameters. Monitoring of SvO2 following sternal closure may permit early identification of patients at risk for failure.
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