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Pediatr Cardiol. 2015 Oct;36(7):1357-62. doi: 10.1007/s00246-015-1165-x. Epub 2015 Apr 4.

Systemic Embolic Complications of Pulmonary Vein Angioplasty in Children.

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Department of Cardiology, Boston Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Cardiology, Boston Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Pulmonary vein stenosis (PVS) carries significant morbidity and mortality for affected children, and its management often requires multiple angioplasty procedures. PVS angioplasty can be complicated by systemic embolic events such as stroke, but incidence and risk factors are poorly understood. We reviewed pediatric catheterizations involving PVS angioplasty and/or stent placement performed at Boston Children's Hospital between July 2005 and February 2014. A total of 406 cases were performed in 144 distinct patients. Patients underwent a median of two catheterizations, at median age 1 year and weight 6.9 kg. Eleven (2.7 %) catheterizations were complicated by clinically apparent systemic embolic events, comprising 10 strokes (one with associated hepatic embolism) and 1 renal infarct. Prevalence of clinically evident stroke among this cohort was 7.6 %. Using a prior (uncomplicated) catheterization to allow each patient to serve as their own control, we sought to identify potentially modifiable risk factors for systemic embolic events. Although this analysis was limited by low power, complicated and uncomplicated angioplasties did not appear to differ in case time, contrast dose, anticoagulation management, use of cutting balloons, number of catheter exchanges, or size of long sheath used. Significant non-embolic adverse events were common, occurring in 25 % of catheterizations. Systemic embolism appears to complicate PVS angioplasty at a rate much higher than that described for other congenital catheterizations. This risk may be inherent to the procedure rather than related to any modifiable or operator-dependent factors.


Angioplasty; Catheterization; Pulmonary vein stenosis; Stroke

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