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Hypertension following primary coarctation repair affects up to a third of subjects. A number of studies suggest that future hypertension risk is reduced if primary repair is performed at a younger age.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the risk of future medical treatment for hypertension depending on age of primary coarctation repair.
This study was carried out at a tertiary paediatric cardiology referral centre. Retrospective database evaluation of children aged <16 years undergoing primary surgical coarctation repair between October, 2005 and October, 2014 was carried out. Patients with complex heart diseases were excluded. The following age groups were considered: neonate (⩽28 days), infant (>28 days and ⩽12 months), and children (>12 months). Main outcome measure is the need for long-term anti-hypertensive medication. The risk for re-coarctation was also evaluated.
A total of 87 patients were analysed: 60 neonates, 17 infants, 10 children. Among them, 6.7% neonates, 29.4% infants, and 40% children required long-term anti-hypertensive medications. Group differences were statistically significant (p=0.004). After adjustment for type of repair, the risk of long-term anti-hypertensive therapy was 4.5 (95% confidence interval 1.2–16.9, p=0.025) and 10.5 times (95% confidence interval 2.6–42.3, p=0.001) higher if primary repair was carried out in infancy and childhood, respectively, compared with neonates. Among all, 13 patients developed re-coarctation: 21.7% in the neonatal group, 5.9% in the infant group, and 20% in the child group. We could not demonstrate a significant difference between these proportions or calculate a reliable risk for developing re-coarctation.
Risk of medical treatment for hypertension was lowest when primary repair was carried out during the neonatal period, rising 10-fold if first operated on as a child. Knowing the likelihood of hypertension development depending on age of primary repair is useful for long-term surveillance and counselling.