Sepsis After Cardiac Surgery Early in Infancy and Adverse 4.5‐Year Neurocognitive Outcomes
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BACKGROUND: We aimed to determine whether sepsis is associated with neurocognitive outcomes 4.5 years after congenital heart disease surgery in early infancy. METHODS AND RESULTS: A secondary analysis from a prospective inception cohort included all children having congenital heart disease surgery done at ≤6 weeks of age with cardiopulmonary bypass at the Western Canadian referral center from 1996 to 2009. Follow-up at the referral center determined the primary outcomes at 4.5 years with full-scale, performance, and verbal intelligence quotients on the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence. Perioperative variables were collected prospectively, and confirmation of blood culture-positive sepsis was done retrospectively. Multiple linear regression models for neurocognitive outcomes and multiple Cox proportional hazards regression for mortality were determined. Sepsis occurred in 97 of 502 patients (19%) overall and in 76 of 396 survivors (19%) with 4.5-year follow-up. By 4.5 years, there were 91 (18%) deaths, and 396 of 411 survivors (96%) had follow-up completed. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was associated with worse scores on all neurocognitive outcomes on multivariable regression; the association between extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and full-scale intelligence quotient had a regression coefficient of -13.6 (95% CI -21.3 to -5.9; P=0.001). Sepsis perioperatively was associated with performance and verbal intelligence quotients, with a trend for full-scale intelligence quotient (P=0.058) on multivariable regression. The regression coefficient for sepsis was strongest for performance intelligence quotient (-5.31; 95% CI -9.84 to -0.78; P=0.022). Sepsis was not but extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was associated with mortality by 4.5 years. CONCLUSIONS: Perioperative sepsis and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation were associated with adverse neurocognitive outcomes on multivariable regression. Quality improvement to prevent sepsis has the potential to improve long-term neurocognitive outcomes in infants after surgery for congenital heart disease.
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