Department of Pediatrics, School of Public Health, John Dossetor Health Ethics Center, University of Alberta, and Stollery Children's Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
Survival after heart transplant has improved and more attention is focused on developmental outcomes. We aimed to determine the survival, morbidity, and developmental outcomes of young children after heart transplant.
All children under 6 years of age having a heart transplant in Edmonton between 1999 and 2006 were included in this inception cohort study. Demographics, pretransplant, transplant, and posttransplant variables were collected. The association of potentially predictive variables with neurodevelopmental outcomes at least 12 months posttransplant were determined by univariate and multiple regression analyses.
Thirty-three children had a heart transplant; 18 with congenital heart disease (CHD) and 15 with cardiomyopathy-myocarditis (non-CHD). Mortality during 19 (8) months of follow-up was 12% (95% confidence interval [CI] 3% to 28%). Survivors had frequent low weight (28%) and height (31%), and delay in language (41%), motor (52%), mental (34%), and general adaptive composite (48%) scores. Only CHD was associated with death-disability-mental delay on multiple regression (odds ratio 7.94; 95% CI 1.6 to 39.4, p=0.011). The CHD was also associated with mental and language delay on multiple regressions. Mental delay occurred in 8 (53%) with CHD and 2 (14%) with non-CHD (p=0.05). Mental score of 85 or greater was found in 13.4% of patients with CHD compared with 50% with non-CHD (p=0.05).
In this single-center inception cohort study, adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in survivors of heart transplant before the age 6 years were common, particularly in those with CHD. Careful pretransplant and posttransplant counseling are needed, and close follow-up with early intervention for these high-risk children is imperative.