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Paediatric cardiac surgery on cardiopulmonary bypass induces substantial physiologic changes that contribute to post-operative morbidity and mortality. Fluid overload and oedema are prevalent complications, routinely treated with diuretics. The optimal diuretic choice, timing of initiation, dose, and interval remain largely unknown.
To guide clinical practice and future studies, we used PubMed and EMBASE to systematically review the existing literature of clinical trials involving diuretics following cardiac surgery from 2000 to 2020 in children aged 0–18 years. Studies were assessed by two reviewers to ensure that they met eligibility criteria.
We identified nine studies of 430 children across four medication classes. Five studies were retrospective, and four were prospective, two of which included randomisation. All were single centre. There were five primary endpoints – urine output, acute kidney injury, fluid balance, change in serum bicarbonate level, and required dose of diuretic. Included studies showed early post-operative diuretic resistance, suggesting higher initial doses. Two studies of ethacrynic acid showed increased urine output and lower diuretic requirement compared to furosemide. Children receiving peritoneal dialysis were less likely to develop fluid overload than those receiving furosemide. Chlorothiazide, acetazolamide, and tolvaptan demonstrated potential benefit as adjuncts to traditional diuretic regimens.
Early diuretic resistance is seen in children following cardiopulmonary bypass. Ethacrynic acid appears superior to furosemide. Adjunct diuretic therapies may provide additional benefit. Study populations were heterogeneous and endpoints varied. Standardised, validated endpoints and pragmatic trial designs may allow investigators to determine the optimal diuretic, timing of initiation, dose, and interval to improve post-operative outcomes.
Infants with moderate-to-severe CHD frequently undergo cardiopulmonary bypass surgery in childhood. Morbidity and mortality are highest in those who develop post-operative low cardiac output syndrome. Vasoactive and inotropic medications are mainstays of treatment for these children, despite limited evidence supporting their use.
To help inform clinical practice, as well as the conduct of future trials, we performed a systematic review of existing literature on inotropes and vasoactives in children after cardiac surgery using the PubMed and EMBASE databases. We included studies from 2000 to 2020, and the patient population was defined as birth – 18 years of age. Two reviewers independently reviewed studies to determine final eligibility.
The final analysis included 37 papers. Collectively, selected studies reported on 12 different vasoactive and inotropic medications in 2856 children. Overall evidence supporting the use of these drugs in children after cardiopulmonary bypass was limited. The majority of studies were small with 30/37 (81%) enrolling less than 100 patients, 29/37 (78%) were not randomised, and safety and efficacy endpoints differed widely, limiting the ability to combine data for meta-analyses.
Vasoactive and inotropic support remain critical parts of post-operative care for children after cardiopulmonary bypass surgery. There is a paucity of data for the selection and dosing of vasoactives and inotropes for these patients. Despite the knowledge gaps that remain, numerous recent innovations create opportunities to rethink the conduct of clinical trials in this high-risk population.
The air gap technique (AGT) is an approach to radiation dose optimisation during fluoroscopy where an “air gap” is used in place of an anti-scatter grid to reduce scatter irradiation. The AGT is effective in adults but remains largely untested in children. Effects are expected to vary depending on patient size and the amount of scatter irradiation produced.
Fluoroscopy and cineangiography were performed using a Phillips Allura Fluoroscope on tissue simulation anthropomorphic phantoms representing a neonate, 5-year-old, and teenager. Monte Carlo simulations were then used to estimate effective radiation dose first using a standard recommended imaging approach and then repeated using the AGT. Objective image quality assessments were performed using an image quality phantom.
Effective radiation doses for the neonate and 5-year-old phantom increased consistently (2–92%) when the AGT was used compared to the standard recommended imaging approaches in which the anti-scatter grid is removed at baseline. In the teenage phantom, the AGT reduced effective doses by 5–59%, with greater dose reductions for imaging across the greater thoracic dimension of lateral projection. The AGT increased geometric magnification but with no detectable change in image blur or contrast differentiation.
The AGT is an effective approach for dose reduction in larger patients, particularly for lateral imaging. Compared to the current dose optimisation guidelines, the technique may be harmful in smaller children where scatter irradiation is minimal.
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