Five-year neurocognitive and health outcomes after the neonatal arterial switch operation

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Abstract

Objectives:

We sought to assess the 5-year neurocognition and health of an interprovincial inception cohort undergoing the arterial switch operation for transposition of the great arteries.

Methods:

Sixty-nine consecutive neonates had operations from 1996–2003 with full-flow cardiopulmonary bypass and selective deep hypothermic circulatory arrest. Outcomes were recorded at 58 ± 9 months of age. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify outcome predictors, including surgical subtype and preoperative, operative, and postoperative variables.

Results:

There was 1 (1.5%) operative death. Two children were lost to follow-up, and 1 was excluded because of postdischarge meningitis. Outcomes are reported for 65 survivors. Two (3%) children have cerebral palsy, and 7 (11%) have language disorders, 4 of whom also meet the criteria for autism spectrum disorder. Two of the 4 children with autism have an affected older sibling. Of the 61 children without autism, scores approach those of peers, with a full-scale intelligence quotient of 97 ± 16, a verbal intelligence quotient of 97 ± 18, a performance intelligence quotient of 96 ± 15, and a visual–motor integration score of 95 ± 16. Mother's education, birth gestation or weight, and postoperative plasma lactate values account for 21% to 32% of the variance of these scores. Septostomy adds 7% to the variance of visual–motor integration scores.

Conclusions:

Most preschool children do well after surgical correction for transposition of the great arteries, including complex forms. Potentially modifiable variables include high preoperative plasma lactate levels and septostomy. A minority of children were given diagnoses of language disorders, including autism, in which familial factors likely contribute to outcome.

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