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Bypass procedure used during infant heart surgery does not impair later neurological outcomes
Date:1/26/2010

Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common birth defects in humans, affecting 8 per 1000 live births with one third of affected children requiring intervention in early infancy. Increasing numbers of survivors combined with developmental expectations for independence, behavioral self-regulation and academic achievement have led to a growing identification of neurobehavioral symptoms in some survivors. A study now suggests that a cooling technique often used in heart operations does not impair neurological outcomes.

Congenital heart disease and its treatment were originally thought to potentially increase neurologic injury in these patients. The technique of deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA) is used in order to repair these congenital cardiac defects by providing a bloodless surgical field, which may facilitate completion of the best physiologic repair, and decrease the duration of blood exposure to the bypass circuit. However, it involves a period of reduced blood flow in the brain. Cooling is a protective mechanism to reduce metabolism of the brain and other organs during periods of low blood flow.

Stephanie Fuller, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, presented these research findings yesterday in the prestigious J. Maxwell Chamberlain Lecture at the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. According to the study, DHCA does not impair language skills, attention, and other neurocognitive abilities in school-age children.

Dr. Fuller and colleagues from Children's Hospital and the University of Washington assessed the use of DHCA as a predictor of neurodevelopmental outcomes in children who had cardiac surgery as infants. The infants were enrolled in a prospective study of apolipoprotein-E (APOE) polymorphisms and neurodevelopmental outcome after cardiac surgery and underwent formal neurodevelopmental testing at four years of age.

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Contact: Joey McCool Ryan
McCool@email.chop.edu
267-426-6070
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Source:Eurekalert

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