Critical heart disease in the neonate: Presentation and outcome at a tertiary care center

Aaron T. Dorfman, Bradley S. Marino, Gil Wernovsky, Sarah Tabbutt, Chitra Ravishankar, Rodolfo I. Godinez, Margaret Priestley, Kathryn M. Dodds, Jack Rychik, Peter J. Gruber, J. William Gaynor, Richard J. Levy, Susan C. Nicolson, Lisa M. Montenegro, Thomas L. Spray, Troy E. Dominguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To define the modes of presentation, incidence of major organ dysfunction, predictors of hospital mortality, and adverse outcomes in neonates with critical heart disease admitted to a tertiary care center. DESIGN: Retrospective chart review. SETTING: A tertiary care pediatric cardiac intensive care unit and neonatal intensive care unit. PATIENTS: The medical records for all neonates (≤30 days of age) with heart disease admitted to the cardiac intensive care unit or neonatal intensive care unit between October 1, 2002, and September 30, 2003, were reviewed. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A total of 190 neonates met inclusion criteria during this 1-yr period, of which 146 (77%) had at least one surgical procedure. Single ventricle heart disease was present in 42%. The most common mode of presentation was following a prenatal diagnosis (53%), followed by diagnosis in the newborn nursery (38%) and diagnosis after newborn hospital discharge (8%). The most common presenting findings in the newborn nursery were isolated murmur (38%) or cyanosis (32%), while circulatory collapse (38%) was the most common presentation after discharge. For the entire study cohort, 13% had a known genetic syndrome, 23% had a major noncardiac congenital anomaly, and 16% weighed <2.5 kg. The hospital mortality for the entire cohort was 7.4%. Risk factors associated with an increased risk of hospital mortality included younger age at admission, higher number of cardiopulmonary bypass runs, and need for postoperative cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Total hospital length of stay was >1 month in 17% of neonates. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with complex congenital heart disease, including nearly half with single ventricle heart disease, neonatal hospital mortality was 7%. These patients have a high frequency of multiple congenital anomalies, genetic syndromes, low birth weight, and prolonged length of stay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-202
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Cardiac intensive care unit
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Epidemiology
  • Newborn
  • Outcomes
  • Presentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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