Background. Changes in healthcare delivery have affected the practice of congenital cardiac surgery. We recently developed a strategy of limited sternotomy, early extubation, and very early discharge, and reviewed the perioperative course of 198 pediatric patients under-going elective cardiovascular surgical procedures, to assess the efficacy and safety of this approach. Methods. One hundred ninety-eight patients aged 0 to 18 years (median 3.2 years) underwent 201 elective cardiovascular surgical procedures over a 1-year period. All patients were admitted on the day of surgery. Patients were divided into six diagnostic groups: group 1, complex left-to-right shunts (n = 14,7.0%); group 2, simple left-to-right shunts (n = 83, 41.3%); group 3, right-to-left shunts with pulmonary obstruction (n = 33, 16.4%); group 4, isolated, nonvalvular obstructive lesions (n = 30, 14.9%); group 5, isolated valvular anomalies (n = 20, 10.0%); and group 6, miscellaneous (n = 21, 10.4%). Results. After 201 procedures, 175 patients (87.1%) were extubated in the operating room and 188 (93.6%) within 4 hours from operation. Four patients (2.0%) were extubated more than 24 hours from completion of the procedure, and 2 (1.0%) died while on respiratory support (never weaned). Five patients (2.6%) failed early extubation (<4 hours). Early discharge was achieved for the vast majority of patients. Overall median length of stay (LOS, including day of surgery as day 1) was 2.0 days, with a median LOS of 3.0 days for those patients requiring circulatory arrest duration exceeding 20 minutes. Of 195 patients, 43 (24.6%), 121 (74.0%), and 159 (81.5%) were discharged, respectively, at < 24, < 48, < 72 hours from admission. Longest and shortest mean postoperative LOS were in group 6 (9.9 ± 14.5 days) and group 2 (1.6 = 0.7 days), respectively. Six patients (2.9%) died, and 11 (5.5%) suffered in-hospital complications. Thirty patients (15.4%) were either treated as outpatients (n = 11, 5.7%) or readmitted (n = 19, 9.7%) within 30 days from the time of surgery. Only 8 of 195 patients (4.1%) were readmitted with true surgical complications requiring invasive therapeutic procedures. Conclusions. Selected patients with a broad spectrum of congenital heart disease may enjoy same-day admission, limited sternotomy, immediate extubation, and very early discharge with excellent outcomes and acceptable morbidity. (C) 2000 by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine