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Using existing data from clinical registries to support clinical trials and other prospective studies has the potential to improve research efficiency. However, little has been reported about staff experiences and lessons learned from implementation of this method in pediatric cardiology.
We describe the process of using existing registry data in the Pediatric Heart Network Residual Lesion Score Study, report stakeholders’ perspectives, and provide recommendations to guide future studies using this methodology.
The Residual Lesion Score Study, a 17-site prospective, observational study, piloted the use of existing local surgical registry data (collected for submission to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons-Congenital Heart Surgery Database) to supplement manual data collection. A survey regarding processes and perceptions was administered to study site and data coordinating center staff.
Survey response rate was 98% (54/55). Overall, 57% perceived that using registry data saved research staff time in the current study, and 74% perceived that it would save time in future studies; 55% noted significant upfront time in developing a methodology for extracting registry data. Survey recommendations included simplifying data extraction processes and tailoring to the needs of the study, understanding registry characteristics to maximise data quality and security, and involving all stakeholders in design and implementation processes.
Use of existing registry data was perceived to save time and promote efficiency. Consideration must be given to the upfront investment of time and resources needed. Ongoing efforts focussed on automating and centralising data management may aid in further optimising this methodology for future studies.
The Pediatric Heart Network designed a career development award to train the next generation of clinician scientists in paediatric-cardiology-related research, a historically underfunded area. We sought to identify the strengths/weaknesses of the programme and describe the scholars’ academic achievements and the network’s return on investment.
Survey questions designed to evaluate the programme were sent to applicants – 13 funded and 19 unfunded applicants – and 20 mentors and/or principal investigators. Response distributions were calculated. χ2 tests of association assessed differences in ratings of the application/selection processes among funded scholars, unfunded applicants, and mentors/principal investigators. Scholars reported post-funding academic achievements.
Survey response rates were 88% for applicants and 100% for mentor/principal investigators. Clarity and fairness of the review were rated as “clear/fair” or “very clear/very fair” by 98% of respondents, but the responses varied among funded scholars, unfunded applicants, and mentors/principal investigators (clarity χ2=10.85, p=0.03; fairness χ2=16.97, p=0.002). Nearly half of the unfunded applicants rated feedback as “not useful” (47%). “Expanding their collaborative network” and “increasing publication potential” were the highest-rated benefits for scholars. Mentors/principal investigators found the programme “very” valuable for the scholars (100%) and the network (75%). The 13 scholars were first/senior authors for 97 abstracts and 109 manuscripts, served on 22 Pediatric Heart Network committees, and were awarded $9,673,660 in subsequent extramural funding for a return of ~$10 for every scholar dollar spent.
Overall, patient satisfaction with the Scholar Award was high and scholars met many academic markers of success. Despite this, programme challenges were identified and improvement strategies were developed.
Children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are at a risk for neurodevelopmental delays. Current guidelines recommend systematic evaluation and management of neurodevelopmental outcomes with referral for early intervention services. The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial represents the largest cohort of children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome ever assembled. Data on life events and resource utilisation have been collected annually. We sought to determine the type and prevalence of early intervention services used from age 1 to 4 years and factors associated with utilisation of services.
Data from 14-month neurodevelopmental assessment and annual medical history forms were used. We assessed the impact of social risk and geographic differences. Fisher exact tests and logistic regression were used to evaluate associations.
Annual medical history forms were available for 302 of 314 children. Greater than half of the children (52–69%) were not receiving services at any age assessed, whereas 20–32% were receiving two or more therapies each year. Utilisation was significantly lower in year 4 (31%) compared with years 1–3 (with a range from 40 to 48%) (p<0.001). Social risk factors were not associated with the use of services at any age but there were significant geographic differences. Significant delay was reported by parents in 18–43% of children at ages 3 and 4.
Despite significant neurodevelopmental delays, early intervention service utilisation was low in this cohort. As survival has improved for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, attention must shift to strategies to optimise developmental outcomes, including enrolment in early intervention when merited.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and feasibility of a passive range of motion exercise programme for infants with CHD.
This non-randomised pilot study enrolled 20 neonates following Stage I palliation for single-ventricle physiology. Trained physical therapists administered standardised 15–20-minute passive range of motion protocol, for up to 21 days or until hospital discharge. Safety assessments included vital signs measured before, during, and after the exercise as well as adverse events recorded through the pre-Stage II follow-up. Feasibility was determined by the percent of days that >75% of the passive range of motion protocol was completed.
A total of 20 infants were enrolled (70% males) for the present study. The median age at enrolment was 8 days (with a range from 5 to 23), with a median start of intervention at postoperative day 4 (with a range from 2 to 12). The median hospital length of stay following surgery was 15 days (with a range from 9 to 131), with an average of 13.4 (with a range from 3 to 21) in-hospital days per patient. Completion of >75% of the protocol was achieved on 88% of eligible days. Of 11 adverse events reported in six patients, 10 were expected with one determined to be possibly related to the study intervention. There were no clinically significant changes in vital signs. At pre-Stage II follow-up, weight-for-age z-score (−0.84±1.20) and length-for-age z-score (−0.83±1.31) were higher compared with historical controls from two earlier trials.
A passive range of motion exercise programme is safe and feasible in infants with single-ventricle physiology. Larger studies are needed to determine the optimal duration of passive range of motion and its effect on somatic growth.
A few studies have evaluated the impact of clinical trial results on practice in paediatric cardiology. The Infant Single Ventricle (ISV) Trial results published in 2010 did not support routine use of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor enalapril in infants with single-ventricle physiology. We sought to assess the influence of these findings on clinical practice.
A web-based survey was distributed via e-mail to over 2000 paediatric cardiologists, intensivists, cardiothoracic surgeons, and cardiac advance practice nurses during three distribution periods. The results were analysed using McNemar’s test for paired data and Fisher’s exact test.
The response rate was 31.5% (69% cardiologists and 65% with >10 years of experience). Among respondents familiar with trial results, 74% reported current practice consistent with trial findings versus 48% before trial publication (p<0.001); 19% used angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor in this population “almost always” versus 36% in the past (p<0.001), and 72% reported a change in management or improved confidence in treatment decisions involving this therapy based on the trial results. Respondents familiar with trial results (78%) were marginally more likely to practise consistent with the trial results than those unfamiliar (74 versus 67%, p=0.16). Among all respondents, 28% reported less frequent use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor over the last 3 years.
Within 5 years of publication, the majority of respondents was familiar with the Infant Single Ventricle Trial results and reported less frequent use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor in single-ventricle infants; however, 28% reported not adjusting their clinical decisions based on the trial’s findings.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare associations between generic versus disease-specific functional health status assessments and patient and clinical characteristics for patients with severe congenital heart disease. Methods: This was a cross-sectional observational study involving 325 single ventricle patients, aged 10–18 years, after Fontan procedure. Enrolled patients underwent a medical history review, laboratory testing, and assessment of the functional health status by completion of the generic Child Report Child Health Questionnaire and the disease-specific Congenital Heart Adolescent and Teenage questionnaire. Correlated conceptually equivalent domains from both questionnaires were identified and their associations with patient and clinical variables were compared. Results: From the generic assessment, patients perceived marginally lower physical functioning (p = 0.05) but greater freedom from bodily pain compared with a normal population (p < 0.001). The equivalent physical functioning/limitations domain of the generic instrument, compared with the disease-specific instrument, had similar associations (higher multi-variable model R2) with medical history variables (R2 = 0.14 versus R2 = 0.12, respectively) and stronger associations with exercise testing variables (R2 = 0.22 versus R2 = 0.06). Similarly, the corresponding freedom from bodily pain/symptoms domains from both questionnaires showed a greater association for the generic instrument with medical history variables (R2 = 0.15 versus R2 = 0.09, respectively) and non-cardiac conditions (R2 = 0.13 versus R2 = 0.06). The associations of each questionnaire with echocardiographic results, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging results, and serum brain natriuretic peptide levels were uniformly weak (R2 range <0.01 to 0.04). Conclusions: Assessment of the physical functional health status using generic and disease-specific instruments yields few differences with regard to associations between conceptually similar domains and patient and clinical characteristics for adolescents after Fontan procedure.
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