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Exercise training has been shown to increase exercise capacity in survivors of Fontan surgery. The geographic distribution of the Fontan population has been a barrier to hospital-based exercise training programmes. The objective of this study was to establish whether a home exercise training programme could achieve similar improvements to a hospital programme.
Adolescents with a Fontan circulation aged 12–19 years were prospectively recruited in a hospital or home exercise training programme. Patients underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing and completed the Paediatric Quality of Life Inventory at initial assessment and after completion of an 8-week programme. Both groups performed two 1-hour training sessions per week. Patients in the home training programme had their first session in the hospital, and then progressed independently with one phone consult per week and one home visit by a physiotherapist.
In total, 17 patients, with a mean age of 15±3 years, completed the training programme (six hospital). Characteristics and baseline performance of patients were similar in both groups. Oxygen consumption at anaerobic threshold increased from 19.3±3.8 to 21.6±6.0 ml/kg/minute (p=0.02) and peak oxygen pulse increased from 8.8±2.5 to 9.5±2.7 ml/beat (p=0.049). Total quality of life scale improved from 68 to 74% (p=0.01) and psychosocial health improved from 67 to 74% (p=0.02). No patient experienced training-related complications.
Exercise training is beneficial and most likely safe after Fontan, resulting in improved exercise capacity and self-reported quality of life. Home exercise training programmes are probably as effective as hospital programmes. Home exercise training programmes should be integrated in the follow-up care of patients undergoing Fontan surgery.
The aims of this study were to investigate risk factors for the development of postoperative chylothorax following paediatric congenital heart surgery and to investigate the impact of a management guideline on management strategies and patient outcome.
All patients with chylothorax following cardiac surgery at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, over a 48-month period beginning in January 2008 were identified. A control group, matched for age, date of surgery, and sex, was identified. To investigate potential risk factors, univariable and multivariable logistic regression models were constructed with paired analysis. To examine the effect of a standardised management protocol, data before and after the implementation of the guideline were compared.
In total, 121 cases of chylothorax were identified, with 121 controls, matched for age at surgery, date of surgery, and sex. The incidence of chylothorax was 5.23%. Increasing surgical complexity (univariable OR 0.17 for the least complex versus the most complex group, p=0.02), closed-heart surgeries (OR 0.07 for open versus closed, p<0.001), and redo chest incisions (OR 10.0 for redo versus virgin, p<0.001) were significantly associated with chylothorax. The standardised management protocol had no significant impact on either drainage duration or management strategy.
We have replicated the previously reported association between surgical complexity and chylothorax risk, and have shown, for the first time, that redo chest openings are also associated with a significantly increased risk. The implementation of a standardised management protocol in our institution did not result in a significant change in either chylothorax drainage duration or management strategy.
To describe the motor proficiency of 5-year-old children who underwent early infant cardiac surgery and had atypical infant gross motor development. To identify risk factors for motor dysfunction at 5 years of age.
A total of 33 children (80.5% participation rate) were re-assessed by a physiotherapist blinded to the diagnosis and previous clinical course, using standardised motor assessment tools.
Motor proficiency was categorised as below average or well below average in 41% of the study patients. Approximately 30% of the cohort had balance deficits. Motor abilities at 4 months and 2 years of age were associated with motor proficiency at age 5; however, atypical motor development in infancy was not predictive of below-average or well below-average scores at age 5. Risk factors associated with motor ability at age 5 included respiratory support and intensive care length of stay in the 1st year of life, asymmetrical crawling in infancy, and cyanotic CHD at age 5.
Despite differences from other reported studies in terms of cohort diagnoses and age at surgery, the rate of motor dysfunction was similar, with rates much higher than expected in typical children. Further assessment is needed in later childhood to determine the significance of these findings.
The appropriate timing of intervention in patients with chronic aortic incompetence allows recovery of ventricular function. We sought to determine the optimal timing of the Ross procedure for chronic aortic incompetence in young patients. We retrospectively analysed case notes, and measured pre- and postoperative echocardiographic indexes of left ventricular function, in patients who had undergone the Ross procedure for chronic aortic incompetence. Methods and results: We found 21 patients with preoperative and postoperative data suitable for analysis. Their age at operation ranged from 5.6 to 26 years, with a median of 13.8 years, and the duration of follow-up was from 0.5 to 6.8 years, with a median of 2.4 years. The preoperative left ventricular end-diastolic dimension was converted to a z-score, and this was used as a threshold to divide the population. Using the threshold of a preoperative left ventricular z-score of more than 3 to divide the population did not show any difference in postoperative parameters of left ventricular function. Significant differences were found postoperatively, however, in both the left ventricular z-score and the ratio of left ventricular end-diastolic radius to posterior wall thickness in diastole, with a cutoff preoperative threshold z-score greater than 4. Conclusion: The increase in the ratio of left ventricular end-diastolic radius to the thickness of the posterior wall in diastole would suggest that there is disruption of left ventricular short axis architecture and myocardial contractile function when intervention is postponed. The significantly larger left ventricular dimension at end-diastole, despite the reduction in volume loading post surgery, may also demonstrate irreversible structural changes. Our data would suggest that recovery of left ventricular function is less likely when the left ventricular z-score has reached the value of 4, and that, ideally, intervention should be performed when the z-score approaches or exceeds 3.