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The efficacy of a specialized pediatric cardiac rapid response team is unknown. We hypothesized that a specialized cardiac rapid response team would facilitate team-wide communication between the cardiac stepdown unit and cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) teams and improve patient care.
Materials and methods:
A specialized pediatric cardiac rapid response team was implemented in June 2015. All pediatric cardiac rapid response team activations and outcomes from implementation through December 2018 were reviewed. Cardiac arrests and unplanned transfers to the cardiac ICU were indexed to 1000 patient-days to account for inpatient volume trends and evaluated over time.
There were 202 cardiac rapid response team activations in 108 unique patients during the study period. After implementation of the pediatric cardiac rapid response team, unplanned transfers from the cardiac stepdown unit to the cardiac ICU decreased from 16.8 to 7.1 transfers per 1000 patient days (p = 0.012). The stepdown unit cardiac arrest rate decreased from 1.2 to 0.0 arrests per 1000 patient-days (p = 0.015). There was one death on the cardiac stepdown unit in the 5 years since the implementation of the cardiac rapid response team, compared to four deaths in the previous 5 years.
A reduction in unplanned cardiac ICU transfers, cardiac arrests, and mortality on the cardiac stepdown unit has been observed since the implementation of a specialized pediatric cardiac rapid response team. A specialized cardiac rapid response team may improve communication and empower the interdisciplinary care team to escalate care for patients experiencing clinical decline.
Registry-based trials have emerged as a potentially cost-saving study methodology. Early estimates of cost savings, however, conflated the benefits associated with registry utilisation and those associated with other aspects of pragmatic trial designs, which might not all be as broadly applicable. In this study, we sought to build a practical tool that investigators could use across disciplines to estimate the ranges of potential cost differences associated with implementing registry-based trials versus standard clinical trials.
We built simulation Markov models to compare unique costs associated with data acquisition, cleaning, and linkage under a registry-based trial design versus a standard clinical trial. We conducted one-way, two-way, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses, varying study characteristics over broad ranges, to determine thresholds at which investigators might optimally select each trial design.
Registry-based trials were more cost effective than standard clinical trials 98.6% of the time. Data-related cost savings ranged from $4300 to $600,000 with variation in study characteristics. Cost differences were most reactive to the number of patients in a study, the number of data elements per patient available in a registry, and the speed with which research coordinators could manually abstract data. Registry incorporation resulted in cost savings when as few as 3768 independent data elements were available and when manual data abstraction took as little as 3.4 seconds per data field.
Registries offer important resources for investigators. When available, their broad incorporation may help the scientific community reduce the costs of clinical investigation. We offer here a practical tool for investigators to assess potential costs savings.
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.
Families of children born with CHD face added stress owing to uncertainty about the magnitude of the financial burden for medical costs they will face. This study seeks to assess the family responsibility for healthcare bills during the first 12 months of life for commercially insured children undergoing surgery for severe CHD.
The MarketScan® database from Truven was used to identify commercially insured infants in 39 states from 2010 to 2012 with an ICD-9 diagnosis code for transposition of the great arteries, tetralogy of Fallot, or truncus arteriosus, as well as the corresponding procedure code for complete repair. Data extraction identified payment responsibilities of the patients’ families in the form of co-payments, deductibles, and co-insurance during the 1st year of life.
There were 481 infants identified who met the criteria. Average family responsibility for healthcare bills during the 1st year of life was $2928, with no difference between the three groups. The range of out-of-pocket costs was $50–$18,167. Initial hospitalisation and outpatient care accounted for the majority of these responsibilities.
Families of commercially insured children with severe CHD requiring corrective surgery face an average of ~$3000 in out-of-pocket costs for healthcare bills during the first 12 months of their child’s life, although the amount varied considerably. This information provides a framework to alleviate some of the uncertainty surrounding healthcare financial responsibilities, and further examination of the origination of these expenditures may be useful in informing future healthcare policy discussion.
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.
Patients undergoing the Norwood operation consume considerable healthcare resources; however, detailed information regarding factors impacting hospitalisation costs is lacking. We evaluated the association of postoperative complications with hospital costs.
In the present study, we utilised a unique data set consisting of prospectively collected clinical data from the Pediatric Heart Network Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial linked at the patient level with cost data for 10 hospitals participating in the Children’s Hospital Association Case Mix database during the trial period. The relationship between complications and cost was modelled using linear regression, accounting for the skewed distribution of cost, adjusting for within-centre clustering and baseline patient characteristics.
A total of 334 eligible Norwood records (97.5%) were matched between data sets. Overall, 82% suffered from at least one complication (median 2; with a range from 0 to 33). Those with complications had longer postoperative length of stay (25 versus 12 days, p<0.001), more total ventilator days (7 versus 5 days, p<0.001), and higher in-hospital mortality (17.6 versus 3.4%, p<0.006). Mean adjusted hospital cost in those with a complication was $190,689 (95% CI $111,344–$326,577) versus $120,584 (95% CI $69,246–$209,983) in those without complications (p=0.002). Costs increased with the number of complications (1–2 complications=$132,800 versus 3–4 complications=$182,353 versus ⩾5 complications=$309,372 [p<0.001]).
This merged data set of clinical trial and cost data demonstrated that postoperative complications are common following the Norwood operation and are associated with worse clinical outcomes and higher costs. Efforts to reduce complications in this population may lead to improved outcomes and cost savings.
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.
Introduction: A recent modification to the Norwood procedure involving a shunt placed directly from the right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries may improve postoperative haemodynamics. Concerns remain, however, about the potential problems produced by the required ventriculotomy. Methods: We compared 76 patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome who underwent the Norwood procedure, 35 receiving a modified Blalock-Taussig shunt and the remaining 41 a shunt placed directly from the right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries. We reviewed their subsequent progress through the second stage of palliation. A single observer graded right ventricular function, and the severity of tricuspid regurgitation, based on blinded review of the most recent echocardiograms prior to the second stage of palliation. Results: At the time of catheterization prior to the second stage, patients with a shunt placed from the right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries, rather than a modified Blalock-Taussig shunt, had higher arterial diastolic blood pressure, at 44 versus 40 millimetres of mercury, p equal to 0.02, lower ventricular end diastolic pressures, at 8 versus 11 millimetres of mercury, p equal to 0.0002, and larger pulmonary arteries as judged using the Nakata index, at 270 versus 188 millimetres squared per metres squared, p equal to 0.009. There was no difference in qualitative ventricular systolic function or tricuspid regurgitation between groups. No differences were found between groups during the hospitalization following the second stage of palliation. A trend towards improved survival to the second stage was seen following the construction of a shunt from the right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries. Conclusions: Construction of a shunt from the right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries is associated with lower right ventricular end diastolic pressures, larger pulmonary arterial size, and higher systemic arterial diastolic pressures. No apparent deleterious effects of the right ventriculotomy were observed in terms of qualitative ventricular systolic function or tricuspid regurgitation.
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