bims-hylehe Biomed News
on Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
Issue of 2019‒12‒29
four papers selected by
Richard James
University of Pennsylvania


  1. Pediatr Cardiol. 2019 Dec 21.
    Glotzbach KL, Ward JJ, Marietta J, Eckhauser AW, Winter S, Puchalski MD, Miller TA.
      Neurodevelopmental (ND) impairment is common in children with congenital heart disease (CHD). While routine ND surveillance and evaluation of high-risk patients has become the standard-of-care, capture rate, barriers to referral, and potential patient benefits remain incompletely understood. Electronic data warehouse records from a single center were reviewed to identify all eligible and evaluated patients between July 2015 and December 2017 based on current guidelines for ND screening in CHD. Diagnoses, referring provider, and payor were considered. Potential benefit of the evaluation was defined as receipt of new diagnosis, referral for additional evaluation, or referral for a new service. Contingencies were assessed with Fisher's exact test. In this retrospective, cohort study, of 3434 children identified as eligible for ND evaluation, 135 were evaluated (4%). Appropriate evaluation was affected by diagnostic bias against coarctation of the aorta (CoArc) and favoring hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) (1.8 vs. 11.9%, p<0.01). Referrals were disproportionally made by a select group of cardiologists, and the rate of ND appointment non-compliance was higher in self-pay compared to insured patients (78% vs 27%, p<0.01). Potential benefit rate was 70-80% amongst individuals with the three most common diagnoses requiring neonatal surgery (CoArc, transposition of the great arteries, and HLHS). Appropriate ND evaluation in CHD is impacted by diagnosis, provider, and insurance status. Potential benefit of ND evaluation is high regardless of diagnosis. Strategies to improve access to ND evaluations and provider understanding of the at-risk population will likely improve longitudinal ND surveillance and clinical benefit.
    Keywords:  CHD; Developmental delay; ND outcomes; Neurodevelopmental evaluation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00246-019-02260-7
  2. J Ultrasound Med. 2019 Dec 24.
    Pinto NM, Henry KA, Grobman WA, Ness A, Miller S, Ellestad S, Gotteiner N, Tacy T, Wei G, Minich LL, Kinney AY.
      OBJECTIVES: Prenatal detection of congenital heart disease with obstetric screening remains at less than 50% in most population studies, far from what is thought to be achievable. We sought to identify barriers/facilitators for screening from the perspective of interpreting physicians and to understand how these barriers/facilitators may be associated with interpretation of screening images.METHODS: Our mixed-methods studies included 4 focus groups in centers across the United States with obstetric, maternal-fetal medicine, and radiology providers who interpreted obstetric ultrasound studies. Themes around barriers/facilitators for fetal heart screening were coded from transcripts. A national Web-based survey was then conducted, which quantitatively measured reported barriers/facilitators and measured physicians' ability to interpret fetal heart-screening images. Multivariable generalized linear random-effect models assessed the association between barriers/facilitators and the accuracy of image interpretation at the image level.
    RESULTS: Three main themes were identified in the focus groups: intrinsic barriers (ie, comfort with screening), external barriers (ie, lack of feedback), and organizational barriers (ie, study volumes). Among 190 physician respondents, 104 interpreted ultrasound studies. Perceptions of barriers varied by practice setting, with nontertiary providers having lower self-efficacy and perceived usefulness of cardiac screening. Facilitators associated with the odds of accurate interpretation of screening images were knowledge (odds ratio, 2.54; P = .002) and the volume of scans per week (odds ratio, 1.01 for every additional scan; P = .04).
    CONCLUSIONS: Some of the main barriers to cardiac screening identified and prioritized by physicians across the United States were knowledge of screening and minimal volumes of scans. Targeting these barriers will aid in improving prenatal detection of congenital heart disease.
    Keywords:  barriers; congenital heart disease; prenatal diagnosis; screening; survey; ultrasound
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/jum.15199
  3. Yale J Biol Med. 2019 Dec;92(4): 741-745
    Moore BS, Carter BS, Beaven B, House K, House J.
      The ethics of perinatal care, and the experiences of families who receive such care, remains a nascent area of inquiry. It can be hard to see how existing "good death" constructs apply to the experiences of fetal patients and their families. In this paper, we explore two themes raised by a case at our fetal health center: anticipation and accompaniment. In this case, a mother presented to our fetal health center; her unborn son, our fetal patient, was diagnosed with life-threatening hypoplastic left heart syndrome and endocardial fibroelastosis. The parents were told that their son's life expectancy, upon birth, was short. For us, this case raised important questions around what sorts of things we might, together with the family, anticipate with respect to their son's birth and death, and what it meant to really accompany this family on their journey. Alongside conventional lessons in the philosophical literature and palliative care practice, the process of anticipating together and of mutual accompaniment helped us to guide this family to what they ultimately determined to be a good death for their son.
    Keywords:  end-of-life; good death; grief; neonatal death; palliative care; perinatal ethics
  4. Neuroimage Clin. 2019 Dec 16. pii: S2213-1582(19)30470-X. [Epub ahead of print]25 102123
    Ehrler M, Latal B, Kretschmar O, von Rhein M, O'Gorman Tuura R.
      Children and adolescents with congenital heart disease (CHD) are at risk for mild to moderate cognitive impairments. In particular, impaired working memory performance has been found in CHD patients of all ages. Working memory is an important domain of higher order cognitive function and is crucial for everyday activities, with emerging importance in adolescence. However, the underlying neural correlate of working memory impairments in CHD is not yet fully understood. Diffusion tensor imaging and tract based spatial statistics analyses were conducted in 47 adolescent survivors of childhood cardiopulmonary bypass surgery (24 females) and in 44 healthy controls (24 females) between 11 and 16 years of age (mean age = 13.9, SD = 1.6). Fractional anisotropy (FA) of white matter diffusion was compared between groups and was correlated with working memory performance, derived from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-IV. CHD patients had significantly poorer working memory compared to controls (p = 0.001). Widespread bilateral reduction in FA was observed in CHD patients compared to healthy controls (threshold-free cluster enhancement (TFCE) corrected p < 0.05). This reduction in FA was present both in cyanotic and acyanotic CHD patients compared to healthy controls (both p < 0.001). The FA reduction in the frontal lobe, mainly in the forceps minor, was associated with poorer working memory performance in both patients with CHD and healthy controls (TFCE corrected p < 0.05). The current findings underline that in CHD patients, irrespective of disease severity, disrupted or delayed maturation of white matter may persist into adolescence and is associated with working memory impairments, particularly if present in the frontal lobe. Adolescence, which is a crucial period for prefrontal brain maturation, may offer a window of opportunity for intervention in order to support the maturation of frontal brain regions and therefore improve higher order cognitive function in patients with CHD.
    Keywords:  Cognition; Congenital heart disease; Diffusion tensor imaging; Neurodevelopment; Working memory
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2019.102123