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Intraoperative imaging determines the integrity of surgical repairs. Transoesophageal echocardiography represents standard care for intraoperative imaging in CHD. However, some conditions preclude its use, and epicardial echocardiography is used alternatively. Minimal literature exists on the impact of epicardial echocardiography versus transoesophageal echocardiography. We aimed to evaluate accuracy between the two modalities and hypothesised higher imaging error rates for epicardial echocardiography.
We retrospectively reviewed all epicardial echocardiograms performed over 16 years and compared them to an age- and procedure-matched, randomly selected transoesophageal echocardiography cohort. We detected un- or misidentified cardiac lesions during the intraoperative imaging and evaluated patient outcomes. Data are presented as a median with a range, or a number with percentages, with comparisons by Wilcoxon two-sample test and Fisher’s exact test.
Totally, 413 patients comprised the epicardial echocardiography group with 295 transoesophageal echocardiography matches. Rates of imaging discrepancies, re-operation, and incision infection were similar. About 13% of epicardial echocardiography patients had imaging discrepancies versus 16% for transoesophageal (p = 0.2352), the former also had smaller body sizes (p < 0.0001) and more genetic abnormalities (33% versus 19%, p < 0.0001). Death/mechanical support occurred more frequently in epicardial echocardiography patients (16% versus 6%, p < 0.0001), while hospitalisations were longer (25 versus 19 days, p = 0.0003).
Diagnostic accuracy was similar between patients undergoing epicardial echocardiography and transoesophageal echocardiography, while rates of death and mechanical support were increased in this inherently higher risk patient population. Epicardial echocardiography provides a reasonable alternative when transoesophageal echocardiography is not feasible.
Trans-oesophageal echocardiographic imaging is valuable in the pre- and post-operative evaluation of children and adults with CHD; however, the frequency by which trans-oesophageal echocardiography guides the intra-operative course of patients is unknown.
We retrospectively reviewed 1748 intra-operative trans-oesophageal echocardiograms performed between 1 October, 2005 and 31 December, 2010, and found 99 cases (5.7%) that required return to bypass, based in part upon the intra-operative echocardiographic findings.
The diagnoses most commonly requiring further repair and subsequent imaging were mitral valve disease (20.9%), tricuspid valve disease (16.0%), atrioventricular canal defects (12.0%), and pulmonary valve disease (14.1%). The vast majority of those requiring immediate return to bypass benefited by avoiding subsequent operations and longer lengths of hospital stay. A total of 14 patients (0.8%) who received routine imaging required further surgical repair within 1 week, usually due to disease that developed over ensuing days. Patients who had second post-operative trans-oesophageal echocardiograms in the operating room rarely required re-operations, confirming the benefit of routine intra-operative imaging.
This study represents a large single institutional review of intra-operative trans-oesophageal echocardiography, and confirms its applicability in the surgical repair of patients with CHD. Routine imaging accurately identifies patients requiring further intervention, does not confer additional risk of mortality or prolonged length of hospital stay, and prevents subsequent operations and associated sequelae in a substantial subset of patients. This study demonstrates the utility of echocardiography in intra-operative monitoring of surgical repair and highlights patients who are most likely to require return to bypass, as well as the co-morbidities of such manipulations.
Patients with severe right ventricular outflow tract obstruction in tetralogy of Fallot typically have right-to-left shunting, resulting in low pulmonary blood flow and cyanosis. Here we present the case of an infant with tetralogy of Fallot and severe pulmonary valve stenosis, complicated by systemic hypertension, the presence of which altered flow dynamics and possibly prevented cyanosis.
QTc prolongation has been reported in adults following cardiopulmonary bypass; however, this phenomenon has not been studied in children with congenital cardiac disease. This study's aim was to formally assess QTc in children undergoing cardiac surgery.
Pre-operative and post-operative electrocardiograms during hospital stays were prospectively analysed on 107 consecutive patients under 18 years of age undergoing cardiac surgery. QTc was measured manually in leads II, V4, and V5. Measurements of 440 and 480 milliseconds were used to categorise patients. Peri-procedural data included bypass and cross-clamp time, medications, and electrolyte measurements. Outcome data included arrhythmias, length of mechanical ventilation, and hospital stay. Patients with post-operative new bundle branch block or ventricularly paced rhythm were excluded.
In all, 59 children were included, out of which 26 had new QTc over 440 milliseconds and 6 of 59 had new QTc over 480 milliseconds post-operatively. The mean increase in post-operative QTc was 25 milliseconds, p=0.0001. QTc over 480 was associated with longer cross-clamp time, p=0.003. Other risk factors were not associated with post-operative QTc prolongation. This phenomenon was transient with normalisation occurring in 67% of patients over 60 hours on average. One patient with post-operative QTc over 440 milliseconds developed ventricular tachycardia. There was no correlation between prolonged QTc and duration of mechanical ventilation, or hospital stay.
A significant number of children undergoing cardiac surgery showed transient QTc prolongation. The precise aetiology of QT prolongation was not discerned, though new QTc over 480 milliseconds was associated with longer cross-clamp time. In this cohort, transient QTc prolongation was not associated with adverse sequela.
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