Glial fibrillary acidic protein in children with congenital heart disease undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass

Marissa A. Brunetti*, Jacky M. Jennings, R. Blaine Easley, Melania Bembea, Anna Brown, Eugenie Heitmiller, Jamie M. Schwartz, Kenneth Martin Brady, Luca A. Vricella, Allen D. Everett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether blood levels of the brain-specific biomarker glial fibrillary acidic protein rise during cardiopulmonary bypass for repair of congenital heart disease. Methods: This is a prospective observational pilot study to characterise the blood levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein during bypass. Children <21 years of age undergoing bypass for congenital heart disease at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Texas Children's Hospital were enrolled. Blood samples were collected during four phases: pre-bypass, cooling, re-warming, and post-bypass. Results: A total of 85 patients were enrolled between October, 2010 and May, 2011. The median age was 0.73 years (range 0.01-17). The median weight was 7.14 kilograms (range 2.2-86.5). Single ventricle anatomy was present in 18 patients (22%). Median glial fibrillary acidic protein values by phase were: pre-bypass: 0 ng/ml (range 0-0.35); cooling: 0.039 (0-0.68); re-warming: 0.165 (0-2.29); and post-bypass: 0.112 (0-0.97). There were significant elevations from pre-bypass to all subsequent stages, with the greatest increase during re-warming (p = 0.0001). Maximal levels were significantly related to younger age (p = 0.03), bypass time (p = 0.03), cross-clamp time (p = 0.047), and temperature nadir (0.04). Peak levels did not vary significantly in those with single ventricle anatomy versus two ventricle repairs. Conclusion: There are significant increases in glial fibrillary acidic protein levels in children undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass for repair of congenital heart disease. The highest values were seen during the re-warming phase. Elevations are significantly associated with younger age, bypass and cross-clamp times, and temperature nadir. Owing to the fact that glial fibrillary acidic protein is the most brain-specific biomarker identified to date, it may act as a rapid diagnostic marker of brain injury during cardiac surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-631
Number of pages9
JournalCardiology in the young
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Brain biomarker
  • cardiopulmonary bypass
  • glial fibrillary acidic protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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