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Loss of follow-up is a barrier to providing adequate care to paediatric cardiac patients. The purpose of this study was to determine variables associated with loss of appropriate paediatric cardiology follow-up, including potentially modifiable factors. We hypothesised having earlier recommend follow-up intervals was associated with less likelihood of loss of follow-up.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients >5 years old seen in a large, outpatient paediatric practice from 2013 to 2016. Subjects were considered to be lost to follow-up if they did not have a subsequent outpatient encounter by 6 months after their recommend follow-up time interval.
Of the 8940 eligible patients, 45.9% were lost to follow-up. Recommended follow-up interval of 1 year was associated with less loss of follow-up (41.4%) as compared to 2-year intervals (51.6%) and 3 years (55.7%) (p < 0.001 for both). Other significant predictors of loss of follow-up included less severe heart disease, older age, and non-Hispanic Black race/ethnicity. Sex and payor type were not significant predictors. In the stratified analyses by severity of disease and age, longer recommended follow-up time was associated with greater loss of follow-up among all severity and age categories.
Almost half of the patients in our cohort did not return to clinic within the recommended timeline. Shorter follow-up time was associated with less loss of follow-up among all categories of disease severity and age groups. Recommending shorter follow-up intervals may be one initiative for paediatric cardiologists to improve rates of follow-up.
To determine whether racial/ethnic differences exist for the treatment of Marfan syndrome aortopathy. The 2014 Pediatric Heart Network randomised trial of losartan versus atenolol in Marfan syndrome paediatric and young adult patients showed no treatment differences in the rate of aortic root growth over 3 years; however, they did not examine racial/ethnic differences, and recent data suggest that angiotensin receptor blockers may have different pharmacologic effects in different racial/ethnic populations.
We performed a secondary analysis of public-use data from the Pediatric Heart Network randomised trial comparing the differences by race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic patients) amongst the treatment groups for the primary outcome of rate of aortic root enlargement by z score and secondary outcome of rate of change of absolute diameter of aortic root, z score and absolute diameter of ascending aorta, and blood pressure changes.
For aortic root enlargement by z score amongst non-Hispanic White patients, patients on losartan exhibited an annual z score change of –0.090 ± 0.016, compared to –0.146 ± 0.015 for those on atenolol (p = 0.01), favouring atenolol. For Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black patients, there was no difference in primary or secondary outcomes between treatment groups.
Non-Hispanic White patients had a small, but statistically significantly greater decrease in aortic root z score favouring atenolol over losartan. There were no significant differences amongst Hispanic or non-Hispanic Black patients, which may be due to relatively small size numbers. These findings may have important implications for medication selection by race/ethnicity in Marfan syndrome patients, which has not previously been evaluated in studies.
Multicentre research databases can provide insights into healthcare processes to improve outcomes and make practice recommendations for novel approaches. Effective audits can establish a framework for reporting research efforts, ensuring accurate reporting, and spearheading quality improvement. Although a variety of data auditing models and standards exist, barriers to effective auditing including costs, regulatory requirements, travel, and design complexity must be considered.
Materials and methods:
The Congenital Cardiac Research Collaborative conducted a virtual data training initiative and remote source data verification audit on a retrospective multicentre dataset. CCRC investigators across nine institutions were trained to extract and enter data into a robust dataset on patients with tetralogy of Fallot who required neonatal intervention. Centres provided de-identified source files for a randomised 10% patient sample audit. Key auditing variables, discrepancy types, and severity levels were analysed across two study groups, primary repair and staged repair.
Of the total 572 study patients, data from 58 patients (31 staged repairs and 27 primary repairs) were source data verified. Amongst the 1790 variables audited, 45 discrepancies were discovered, resulting in an overall accuracy rate of 97.5%. High accuracy rates were consistent across all CCRC institutions ranging from 94.6% to 99.4% and were reported for both minor (1.5%) and major discrepancies type classifications (1.1%).
Findings indicate that implementing a virtual multicentre training initiative and remote source data verification audit can identify data quality concerns and produce a reliable, high-quality dataset. Remote auditing capacity is especially important during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Although cardiac catheterisation (cath) is the diagnostic test for pulmonary hypertension, it is an invasive procedure. Echocardiography (echo) is commonly used for the non-invasive diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension but maybe limited by lack of adequate signals. Therefore, emphasis has been placed on biomarkers as a potential diagnostic tool. No prior paediatric studies have simultaneously compared N-terminal pro-B-type-natriuretic peptide (NTproBNP) with cath/echo as a potential diagnostic tool. The aim of this study was to determine if NTproBNP was a reliable diagnostic tool for pulmonary hypertension in this population.
Patients were divided into Study (echo evidence/established diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension undergoing cath) and Control (cath for small atrial septal defect/patent ductus arteriosus and endomyocardial biopsy post cardiac transplant) groups. NTproBNP, cath/echo data were obtained.
Thirty-one patients met inclusion criteria (10 Study, 21 Control). Median NTproBNP was significantly higher in the Study group. Echo parameters including transannular plane systolic excursion z scores, pulmonary artery acceleration time and right ventricular fractional area change were lower in the Study group and correlated negatively with NTproBNP. Receiver operation characteristic curve analysis demonstrated NTproBNP > 389 pg/ml was 87% specific for the diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension with the addition of pulmonary artery acceleration time improving the specificity.
NTproBNP may be a valuable adjunctive diagnostic tool for pulmonary hypertension in the paediatric population. Echo measures of transannular plane systolic excursion z score, pulmonary artery acceleration time and right ventricular fractional area change had negative correlations with NTproBNP. The utility of NTproBNP as a screening tool for pulmonary hypertension requires validation in a population with unknown pulmonary hypertension status.
To define optimal thromboprophylaxis strategy after stent implantation in superior or total cavopulmonary connections.
Stent thrombosis is a rare complication of intravascular stenting, with a perceived higher risk in single-ventricle patients.
All patients who underwent stent implantation within superior or total cavopulmonary connections (caval vein, innominate vein, Fontan, or branch pulmonary arteries) were included. Cohort was divided into aspirin therapy alone versus advanced anticoagulation, including warfarin, enoxaparin, heparin, or clopidogrel. Primary endpoint was in-stent or downstream thrombus, and secondary endpoints included bleeding complications.
A total of 58 patients with single-ventricle circulation underwent 72 stent implantations. Of them 14 stents (19%) were implanted post-superior cavopulmonary connection and 58 (81%) post-total cavopulmonary connection. Indications for stenting included vessel/conduit stenosis (67%), external compression (18%), and thrombotic occlusion (15%). Advanced anticoagulation was prescribed for 32 (44%) patients and aspirin for 40 (56%) patients. Median follow up was 1.1 (25th–75th percentile, 0.5–2.6) years. Echocardiograms were available in 71 patients (99%), and advanced imaging in 44 patients (61%). Thrombosis was present in two patients on advanced anticoagulation (6.3%) and none noted in patients on aspirin (p = 0.187). Both patients with in-stent thrombus underwent initial stenting due to occlusive left pulmonary artery thrombus acutely post-superior cavopulmonary connection. There were seven (22%) significant bleeding complications for advanced anticoagulation and none for aspirin (p < 0.001).
Antithrombotic strategy does not appear to affect rates of in-stent thrombus in single-ventricle circulations. Aspirin alone may be sufficient for most patients undergoing stent implantation, while pre-existing thrombus may warrant advanced anticoagulation.
Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in childhood cancer survivors. Cardiologists must be aware of risk factors and long-term follow-up guidelines, which have historically been the purview of oncologists. Little is known about paediatric cardiologists’ knowledge regarding the cardiotoxicity of cancer treatment and how to improve this knowledge.
A total of 58 paediatric cardiologists anonymously completed a 21-question, web-based survey focused on four cardio-oncology themes: cancer treatment-related risk factors (n = 6), patient-related risk factors (n = 6), recommended surveillance (n = 3), and cardiac-specific considerations (n = 6). Following the baseline survey, a multi-disciplinary team of paediatric cardiologists and cancer survivor providers developed an in-person and web-based educational intervention. A post-intervention survey was conducted 5 months later.
The response rate was 41/58 (70.7%) pre-intervention and 30/58 (51.7%) post-intervention. On the baseline survey, the percentage of correct answers was 68.8 ± 10.3%, which improved to 79.2 ± 16.2% after the intervention (p = 0.009). The theme with the most profound knowledge deficit was surveillance; however, it also had the greatest improvement after the intervention (49.6 ± 26.7 versus 66.7 ± 27.7% correct, p = 0.025). Individual questions with the largest per cent improvement pertained to risk of cardiac dysfunction with time since treatment (52.4 versus 93.1%, p = 0.002) and the role of dexrazoxane (48.8 versus 82.8%, p = 0.020).
Specific knowledge deficits about the care of paediatric cancer survivors were identified amongst cardiologists using a web-based survey. Knowledge of surveillance was initially lowest but improved the most after an educational intervention. This highlights the need for cardio-oncology-based educational initiatives among paediatric cardiologists.
Transcatheter right ventricle decompression in neonates with pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum is technically challenging, with risk of cardiac perforation and death. Further, despite successful right ventricle decompression, re-intervention on the pulmonary valve is common. The association between technical factors during right ventricle decompression and the risks of complications and re-intervention are not well described.
This is a multicentre retrospective study among the participating centres of the Congenital Catheterization Research Collaborative. Between 2005 and 2015, all neonates with pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum and attempted transcatheter right ventricle decompression were included. Technical factors evaluated included the use and characteristics of radiofrequency energy, maximal balloon-to-pulmonary valve annulus ratio, infundibular diameter, and right ventricle systolic pressure pre- and post-valvuloplasty (BPV). The primary end point was cardiac perforation or death; the secondary end point was re-intervention.
A total of 99 neonates underwent transcatheter right ventricle decompression at a median of 3 days (IQR 2–5) of age, including 63 patients by radiofrequency and 32 by wire perforation of the pulmonary valve. There were 32 complications including 10 (10.5%) cardiac perforations, of which two resulted in death. Cardiac perforation was associated with the use of radiofrequency (p=0.047), longer radiofrequency duration (3.5 versus 2.0 seconds, p=0.02), and higher maximal radiofrequency energy (7.5 versus 5.0 J, p<0.01) but not with patient weight (p=0.09), pulmonary valve diameter (p=0.23), or infundibular diameter (p=0.57). Re-intervention was performed in 36 patients and was associated with higher post-intervention right ventricle pressure (median 60 versus 50 mmHg, p=0.041) and residual valve gradient (median 15 versus 10 mmHg, p=0.046), but not with balloon-to-pulmonary valve annulus ratio, atmospheric pressure used during BPV, or the presence of a residual balloon waist during BPV. Re-intervention was not associated with any right ventricle anatomic characteristics, including pulmonary valve diameter.
Technical factors surrounding transcatheter right ventricle decompression in pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum influence the risk of procedural complications but not the risk of future re-intervention. Cardiac perforation is associated with the use of radiofrequency energy, as well as radiofrequency application characteristics. Re-intervention after right ventricle decompression for pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum is common and relates to haemodynamic measures surrounding initial BPV.
The diagnostic role of cardiac MRI in myocarditis is evolving, however with extremely limited data in paediatrics. The goal of this study was to assess the utility of cardiac MRI in paediatric myocarditis and present a new prognostic score for risk stratification.
The present study is a retrospective investigation of children with a clinical diagnosis of myocarditis, including analysis of demographics, clinical presentation, diagnostic studies, including cardiac MRI, and outcomes.
A total of 44 patients met the inclusion criteria, of whom 20 had undergone cardiac MRI. Patients who underwent cardiac MRI were older (median 15.6 versus 11.1 years, p=0.004), had a shorter length of hospital stay (median 4.0 versus 12.5 days, p=0.004), had overall less-severe illness at presentation as evidenced by a higher left-ventricular ejection fraction on echocardiography, had lower peak brain-type natriuretic peptide, were less likely to require advanced mechanical support, and were less likely to experience cardiac death or transplant. In patients who had undergone cardiac MRI, the most common findings were increased early gadolinium enhancement (n=9) or late gadolinium enhancement (n=9). Cardiac MRI findings did not predict a worse outcome. Independent predictors of the need for heart-failure medications at 1-year follow-up included inotrope requirement, extracorporeal membrane oxygenator requirement, and antiarrhythmic requirement at presentation (p<0.05).
In paediatric myocarditis, cardiac MRI is not used uniformly, has a low yield, and does not predict worse outcomes. Future research should evaluate clinical decision-making and the cost–benefit analysis of cardiac MRI in the diagnosis of paediatric myocarditis.
Shone’s syndrome is a complex consisting of mitral valve stenosis in addition to left ventricle outflow obstruction. There are a few studies evaluating the long-term outcomes in this population. We sought to determine the long-term outcomes in our paediatric population with Shone’s syndrome and the factors associated with left heart growth.
All patients diagnosed with Shone’s syndrome with biventricular circulation treated between 1978 and 2010 were reviewed. Baseline echocardiograms and data from catheterisations were also reviewed. Number of interventions (surgical+transcatheter), incidence of mitral valve replacement, and incidence of heart transplantation were tracked. Survival of the population and left heart structural growth were also reviewed.
A total of 121 patients with Shone’s syndrome presented at a median age of 28 days (0–17.3 years) and were followed-up for 7.2 years (0.01–35.5 years). These patients underwent 258 interventions during the study period, and the presence of coarctation was associated with repeat left heart interventions. The 10-year, transplant-free survival was 86%. Presence of pulmonary hypertension was associated with mortality. Left heart structural growth was seen for mitral and aortic valve annuli and left ventricular end-diastolic dimension over time.
Shone’s syndrome patients undergo a number of left heart interventions. Coarctation of the aorta is associated with an increased likelihood for repeat interventions. Survival appears to be more favourable than expected. Significant left heart growth will occur in the population. Pulmonary hypertension is associated with an increased risk of mortality.
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