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Recurrent laryngeal nerve injury leading to vocal cord paralysis is a known complication of cardiothoracic surgery. Its occurrence during interventional catheterisation procedures has been documented in case reports, but there have been no studies to determine an incidence.
To establish the incidence of left recurrent laryngeal nerve injury leading to vocal cord paralysis after left pulmonary artery stenting, patent ductus arteriosus device closure and the combination of the procedures either consecutively or simultaneously.
Members of the Congenital Cardiovascular Interventional Study Consortium were asked to perform a retrospective analysis to identify cases of recurrent laryngeal nerve injury after the aforementioned procedures. Twelve institutions participated in the analysis. They also contributed the total number of each procedure performed at their respective institutions for statistical purposes.
Of the 1337 patients who underwent left pulmonary artery stent placement, six patients (0.45%) had confirmed vocal cord paralysis. 4001 patients underwent patent ductus arteriosus device closure, and two patients (0.05%) developed left vocal cord paralysis. Patients who underwent both left pulmonary artery stent placement and patent ductus arteriosus device closure had the highest incidence of vocal cord paralysis which occurred in 4 of the 26 patients (15.4%). Overall, 92% of affected patients in our study population had resolution of symptoms.
Recurrent laryngeal nerve injury is a rare complication of left pulmonary artery stent placement or patent ductus arteriosus device closure. However, the incidence is highest in patients undergoing both procedures either consecutively or simultaneously. Additional research is necessary to determine contributing factors that might reduce the risk of recurrent laryngeal nerve injury.
In developing countries, congenital heart disease is often unrecognised, leading to serious morbidity and mortality. Guatemala is one of the few developing countries where expert paediatric cardiac treatment is available and affordable, and therefore early detection could significantly improve outcome. We assessed regional congenital heart disease detection rates in Guatemala, and determined whether they correlated with the regional human development index.
We retrospectively reviewed all new cardiac referrals made in 2006 to the Unidad de Cirugia Cardiovascular Pediatrica, the only paediatric cardiac centre in Guatemala. We calculated regional detection rates by comparing the number of congenital heart disease referrals with the expected incidence using the National Ministry of Health birth data. We then compared the regional detection rates with the human development index data published in the United Nations 2006 Development Program Report using Spearman’s rank correlation.
An estimated 3935 infants with cardiac defects were born in Guatemala in 2006, an expected 1380 (35%) of whom had severe forms. Overall, only 533 children (14%) with cardiac defects were referred. Of these, 62% had simple shunt lesions, 13% had cyanotic lesions, and 10% had left-sided obstructive lesions. Only 11.5% of referred patients were neonates. Regional detection rates, ranged 3.2–34%, correlated with the regional human development index (r = 0.75, p < 0.0001).
Current detection of congenital heart disease in Guatemala is low and correlates with the regional human development index. Those detected are older and have less severe forms, suggesting a high mortality rate among Guatemalan neonates with complex cardiac defects.
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