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Circulation. 2011 Oct 4;124(14):1511-9. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.006304. Epub 2011 Sep 12.

Risk, clinical features, and outcomes of thrombosis associated with pediatric cardiac surgery.

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The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1X8.



Thrombosis, usually considered a serious but rare complication of pediatric cardiac surgery, has not been a major clinical and/or research focus in the past.


We noted 444 thrombi (66% occlusive, 60% symptomatic) in 171 of 1542 surgeries (11%). Factors associated with increased odds of thrombosis were age <31 days (odds ratio [OR], 2.0; P=0.002), baseline oxygen saturation <85% (OR, 2.0; P=0.001), previous thrombosis (OR, 2.6; P=0.001), heart transplantation (OR, 4.1; P<0.001), use of deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (OR, 1.9 P=0.01), longer cumulative time with central lines (OR, 1.2 per 5-day equivalent; P<0.001), and postoperative use of extracorporeal support (OR, 5.2; P<0.001). Serious complications of thrombosis occurred with 64 of 444 thrombi (14%) in 47 of 171 patients (28%), and were associated with thrombus location (intrathoracic, 45%; extrathoracic arterial, 19%; extrathoracic venous, 8%; P<0.001), symptomatic thrombi (OR, 8.0; P=0.02), and partially/fully occluding thrombi (OR, 14.3; P=0.001); indwelling access line in vessel (versus no access line) was associated with lower risk of serious complications (OR, 0.4; P=0.05). Thrombosis was associated with longer intensive care unit (+10.0 days; P<0.001) and hospital stay (+15.2 days; P<0.001); higher odds of cardiac arrest (OR, 4.9; P<0.001), catheter reintervention (OR, 3.3; P=0.002), and reoperation (OR, 2.5; P=0.003); and increased mortality (OR, 5.1; P<0.001). Long-term outcome assessment was possible for 316 thrombi in 129 patients. Of those, 197 (62%) had resolved at the last follow-up. Factors associated with increased odds of thrombus resolution were location (intrathoracic, 75%; extrathoracic arterial, 89%; extrathoracic venous, 60%; P<0.001), nonocclusive thrombi (OR, 2.2; P=0.01), older age at surgery (OR, 1.2 per year; P=0.04), higher white blood cell count (OR, 1.1/10(9) cells per 1 mL; P=0.002), and lower fibrinogen (OR, 1.4/g/L; P=0.02) after surgery.


Thrombosis affects a high proportion of children undergoing cardiac surgery and is associated with suboptimal outcomes. Increased awareness and effective prevention and detection strategies are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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