Variation in Postoperative Care following Stage I Palliation for Single-ventricle Patients: A Report from the Joint Council on Congenital Heart Disease National Quality Improvement Collaborative

Carissa M. Baker-Smith, Steven R. Neish, Thomas S. Klitzner, Robert H. Beekman, John D. Kugler, Gerard R. Martin, Carole Lannon, Kathy J. Jenkins, Geoffrey L. Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Background and Methods. The National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPC-QIC) has established a national data registry for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and its variants undergoing staged palliation. The goal of this collaborative is to better understand current care practices and to improve outcomes in children with these severe and complex forms of congenital heart disease. In this study, we describe the postoperative intensive care course, and its variations, for the first 100 patients enrolled into the registry. Results. Patients were enrolled from 21 contributing sites and were discharged home after stage I palliation between July 2008 and February 2010. Following stage I palliation, enrolled participants remained in the intensive care unit for a median duration of 11 days (range: 3-68 days). Duration of intensive care unit stay varied and was greatest for those patients with aortic atresia versus aortic hypoplasia (P= 0.04) and for those who underwent a modified Blalock-Taussig shunt as part of their palliation. The duration of intensive care unit stay also varied by contributing site (medians ranged from 8 to 18 days). Participants requiring reoperation had significantly prolonged lengths of stay (P=.0003). Inotropic agent use among univentricular registry participants also varied by site. The majority of recipients received milrinone (87%), dopamine (64%), and epinephrine (62%). Cardiac catheterization following surgery occurred in 20 patients. Fifteen percent of participants underwent an interventional procedure. Complication following stage I palliation was also fairly common. Conclusions. Considerable variation exists in the postoperative course and management of univentricular patients following stage I palliation. Variation in length of intensive care unit stay, inotropic agent use, need for reoperation or cardiac catheterization, and postoperative complications are described. Further studies to determine etiologies for observed variation may result in improved standards of care and better outcomes during the interstage period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-127
Number of pages12
JournalCongenital Heart Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011



  • Cardiac
  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Interstage
  • Pediatric
  • Quality Improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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