Prevalence of and Predictive Factors for Scoliosis After Surgery for Congenital Heart Disease in the First Year of Life

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Abstract

Background:

The surgical treatment of congenital heart disease is reported to be associated with a high prevalence of scoliosis, although the detailed etiology is unknown. Surgical interventions involving the rib cage are considered to increase the risk of scoliosis. However, whether the cardiac condition or the procedure performed makes patients more susceptible to the development of spinal deformity is controversial.

Methods:

The present study included 483 patients who underwent surgery for the treatment of congenital heart disease with use of procedures involving the immature rib cage (sternotomy and/or thoracotomy) during the first year of life, followed by the evaluation of standing chest radiographs at ≥10 years of age. Patients with congenital spinal deformity and potential neuromuscular disease were excluded. The prevalence of and predictive factors for scoliosis were evaluated. The presence of scoliosis (Cobb angle ≥10° to <20°, ≥20° to <30°, ≥30° to <45°, ≥45°), the convex side of the curve, and the location of the curve were evaluated radiographically. Potential predictive factors that were analyzed included the age at the time of surgery, surgical approach, use of cardiopulmonary bypass, postoperative heart failure and/or cyanosis, New York Heart Association (NYHA) class, cardiomegaly, and age at the time of radiography.

Results:

The mean age at the time of surgery was 112 days, and the mean age at the time of radiography was 14.4 years. The prevalence of scoliosis was 42.4%, and the prevalences of ≥10° to <20°, ≥20° to <30°, ≥30° to <45°, and ≥45° scoliosis were 31.7%, 5.8%, 2.5%, and 2.5%, respectively. Three patients underwent surgery for the treatment of progressive scoliosis. Multivariate analysis indicated that the predictive factors were female sex, left thoracotomy, bilateral thoracotomy, NYHA class, and age at the time of radiography for ≥10° scoliosis; cardiomegaly, NYHA class, and age at the time of radiography for ≥20° scoliosis; cardiomegaly, number of surgical procedures, and age at the time of radiography for ≥30° scoliosis; and cardiomegaly for ≥45° scoliosis. Age at the time of radiography was a predictor of <45° scoliosis; however, the relative association was small.

Conclusions:

Surgery for the treatment of congenital heart disease during the first year of life was associated with a high prevalence of scoliosis (≥40%). While female sex was one of several predictors of ≥10° scoliosis, cardiomegaly was the sole predictor of ≥45° scoliosis.

Level of Evidence:

Prognostic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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