Neurodevelopmental Profiles of Children with Congenital Heart Disease at School Age

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To assess 6-year neurodevelopmental outcomes in a current cohort of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) who underwent cardiopulmonary bypass surgery (CPB), and to determine risk factors for adverse outcomes.

Study design

Outcomes were examined in 233 prospectively enrolled children with CHD (including 64 with a recognized genetic disorder) who underwent CPB between 2004 and 2009. Follow-up assessment included standardized neurologic, motor, and cognitive tests. Variables were collected prospectively, and multiple regression analysis was performed to determine independent risk factors for adverse outcome.


The mean patient age at assessment was 6.3 years (range, 5.1–6.8 years). IQ was lower in children with a genetic disorder (median, 55; range, 17–115) compared with children without a genetic disorder (median, 95; range, 47–135; P < .001). Cognitive and motor performance also were lower in children without a genetic disorder compared with the norm (P < .01 for both). The prevalence of children without a genetic disorder performing below -2 SD (IQ 70) was higher than the norm (5.3% vs 2.3%; P = .008), and the prevalence of poor motor performance (<10th percentile) ranged from 21.2% to 41.1% (P < .01 for all). Significant independent risk factors for poor neurodevelopmental outcome included a genetic disorder, longer length of intensive care stay, lower birth weight, postoperative seizures, and lower socioeconomic status.


Current cohorts of children with CHD undergoing CPB show favorable outcomes but remain at risk for long-term neurodevelopmental impairments, particularly those with a genetic disorder and a complicated postoperative course. Close neurodevelopmental surveillance is necessary to provide early therapeutic support.

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