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Special Bypass Procedure Used During Infant Heart Surgery Does Not Impair Later Neurological Outcomes in Children
Date:1/25/2010

o 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.

Neurodevelopmental testing was completed in 238 out of 307 eligible patients. The surgeons used DHCA in 92 of those infants as deemed necessary to provide better operative exposure with a bloodless and less cluttered surgical field and therefore a shorter total cardiopulmonary support time.  Use of DHCA was not predictive of worse performance for any neurodevelopmental outcome. Significant predictors of worse outcome included lower socioeconomic status, preoperative mechanical ventilation and babies that were younger and smaller at the time of first operation. Neurodevelopmental assessment included cognition, language skills, attention, impulsivity, executive function, social competence, and visual-motor and fine-motor skills.

"Selective use of DHCA during cardiac surgery in infancy may facilitate operative repair and is not associated with impaired neurodevelopmental outcomes," said Dr. Fuller. "Despite added risk factors, the selective use of DHCA during infancy for repair of congenital heart disease without an obstruction in the aorta was not predictive of worse performance at four years of age."

Dr. Fuller added, "use of DHCA as a support technique during cardiac surgery in infancy has many advantages, it is not necessary to sacrifice these advantages merely to avoid use of DHCA. Our study adds to the growing literature showing no adverse influence of limited periods of DHCA. New support techniques must be carefully evaluated prior to wide-spread acceptance to confirm they are not inferior to conventional management strategies."

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