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Palivizumab is the standard immunoprophylaxis against serious disease due to respiratory syncytial virus infection. Current evidence-based prophylaxis guidelines may not address certain children with CHD within specific high-risk groups or clinical/management settings.
An international steering committee of clinicians with expertise in paediatric heart disease identified key questions concerning palivizumab administration; in collaboration with an additional international expert faculty, evidence-based recommendations were formulated using a quasi-Delphi consensus methodology.
Palivizumab prophylaxis was recommended for children with the following conditions: <2 years with unoperated haemodynamically significant CHD, who are cyanotic, who have pulmonary hypertension, or symptomatic airway abnormalities; <1 year with cardiomyopathies requiring treatment; in the 1st year of life with surgically operated CHD with haemodynamically significant residual problems or aged 1–2 years up to 6 months postoperatively; and on heart transplant waiting lists or in their 1st year after heart transplant. Unanimous consensus was not reached for use of immunoprophylaxis in children with asymptomatic CHD and other co-morbid factors such as arrhythmias, Down syndrome, or immunodeficiency, or during a nosocomial outbreak. Challenges to effective immunoprophylaxis included the following: multidisciplinary variations in identifying candidates with CHD and prophylaxis compliance; limited awareness of severe disease risks/burden; and limited knowledge of respiratory syncytial virus seasonal patterns in subtropical/tropical regions.
Evidence-based immunoprophylaxis recommendations were formulated for subgroups of children with CHD, but more data are needed to guide use in tropical/subtropical countries and in children with certain co-morbidities.
A total of 80 patients, diagnosed by echocardiography as having ventricular septal defect with aortic valvar prolapse, underwent cardiac catheterization and surgery. Echocardiographic and angiographic results were compared with surgical findings. The ventricular septal defects as observed during surgery were found to be doubly committed and subarterial in 49 (61%), muscular outlet in 10 (13%), and perimembranous in 21(26%). The location had been erroneously categorized by echocardiography and angiography in 12 (15%) and in 15 (19%) patients, respectively. Prolapse of the right coronary leaflet of the aortic valve, as documented by echocardiography, was confirmed by angiography in all but two cases. Prolapse of the noncoronary leaflet was detected by both imaging modalities in three patients. Prolapse of the right coronary and noncoronary leaflets was observed at surgery in 49 and three patients, respectively. The mean size of the ventricular septal defect, when measured by echocardiography, was significantly smaller than that found following surgical measurements (3.3±1.3 vs 8.4±3.8 mm, p<0.001). Our study showed that the ventricular septal defect was erroneously classified in the presence of prolapse of the aortic valve in 15% and 19% of our cases by echocardiography and angiography, respectively. The herniated sinus of Valsalva forming the “roof” of the ventricular septal defect probably redirected the jet across the defect to cause the errors in interpretation. Echocardiography, nevertheless, is as reliable as angiography in our hands in the follow-up of patients with ventricular septal defect opening to the outlet of the right ventricle.
Obstruction to the pulmonary venous return is a frequent associated anomaly in patients with isomerism of the right atrial appendages. Yet, preoperative diagnosis by means of either cross-sectional echocardiography or cardiac catheterization can be intriguing. Indeed, the presence of two morphologically right lungs reduce considerably the size of window for precordial echocardiography. Also, in the presence of severe pulmonary stenosis or atresia, it can be difficult at cardiac catheterization to enter the pulmonary trunk. In these patients, construction of a systemic-to-pulmonary artery anastomosis will almost inevitably result in pulmonary edema. Between May 1984 and December 1988, five patients with isomerism of the right atrial appendages, severely decreased pulmonary blood flow and concealed obstruction to the pulmonary venous return were admitted to our hospital. A modified Blalock Taussig shunt by interposition of a polytetrafluoroethylene prosthesis was performed in each patients and all of them developed pulmonary edema. Three patients died despite appropriate medical treatment. The remaining two patients were successfully treated by banding of the Blalock shunt. This was performed in the first patient at the time of the initial surgery, when prior to closure of chest, pulmonary edema became manifest. The second patient who developed pulmonary edema early postoperatively, underwent cardiac catheterization to confirm the clinical diagnosis of obstruction to the pulmonary venous return. Reduction of blood flow through the Blalock shunt with resolution of edema was initially achieved by means of a partially occluding balloon catheter. Pulmonary edema recurred one week later because of rupture of the balloon and the patient eventually underwent a successful banding of the Blalock shunt through a left thoracotomy. We conclude that preoperative assessment of the pulmonary venous return is mandatory in patients with right isomerism and reduced pulmonary blood flow. Construction of a modified Blalock-Taussig shunt in the presence of concealed obstruction to the pulmonary venous return will almost inevitably cause pulmonary edema. Banding of the Blalock shunt can be successful, as observed in our experience, for the management of this serious complication.
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