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Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 Jan;71(1):61-5.

Unexpected death after reconstructive surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

Author information

1
Division of Cardiology, The Cardiac Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 19104, USA. mahle@email.chop.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although operative mortality for reconstructive surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome continues to improve, nonoperative mortality, especially in the first year of life, remains relatively high. A number of patients who are thought to be clinically well at hospital discharge die unexpectedly. The goal of the present study was to determine the incidence of and risk factors for unexpected death in patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

METHODS:

Retrospectively, we determined the incidence of unexpected death among 536 patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome who were discharged to home after stage I surgical procedure. To identify potential risk factors, a nested case-control analysis was undertaken.

RESULTS:

Unexpected death occurred in 22 of 536 patients (4.1%) discharged to home after stage I surgical procedure. The median age at unexpected death was 79 days (range, 25 to 227 days). Seizures preceded cardiac arrest in 2 patients, and ventricular arrhythmias were documented in 3 additional patients during attempted resuscitation. Autopsy studies were performed in 12 patients and identified residual lesions that may have contributed to death in 2 patients. In multivariate analysis documented perioperative arrhythmia and earlier year of stage I surgical procedure were associated with an increased risk for unexpected death (p = 0.03 and p = 0.04, respectively). There were 4 additional patients who had unexpected death after subsequent cavopulmonary operation at a median age of 1.6 years (range, 0.9 to 3.8 years).

CONCLUSIONS:

Unexpected death occurred in more than 4% of patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome who were discharged to home after stage I surgical procedure and was most common in the first several months of life. Factors that may contribute to unexpected death include residual lesions, arrhythmias, and neurologic events, although in the majority of cases the cause remains largely unknown.

PMID:
11216811
DOI:
10.1016/s0003-4975(00)02324-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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