Sedated Echocardiograms Better Characterize Branch Pulmonary Arteries Following Bidirectional Glenn Palliation with Minimal Risk of Adverse Events

Williams JL, Raees MA, Sunthankar S, Killen SAS, Bichell D, Parra DA, Soslow JH.

Pediatr Cardiol. 2020 Apr 4. doi: 10.1007/s00246-020-02342-x. [Epub ahead of print]

PMID: 32248280

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Patients post-bidirectional Glenn (BDG) operation are at risk of left and right pulmonary artery (LPA and RPA) hypoplasia. Transthoracic echocardiograms (TTE) in active children can miss essential elements of anatomy. Procedural sedation improves image quality but increases risk of adverse events. We hypothesized that echocardiograms performed with sedation in patients post-BDG would improve visualization of branch pulmonary arteries with minimal adverse events. Patients post-BDG between 2007-2016 were identified. Exclusion criteria were > 12 months of age, absence of complete TTE before discharge, death before discharge, conversion to shunt physiology, and prolonged post-operative course > 7 weeks. Of 254 post-BDG patients, 153 met inclusion/exclusion criteria. TTE reports were reviewed for visualization of LPA/RPA and hypoplasia of LPA/RPA. Blinded assessment of image quality was performed (scale of 1[poor] to 5[excellent]). Pertinent clinical data were recorded. Pearson’s chi-squared and Wilcoxon Rank Sum tests used for statistical analysis. The median age at surgery and hospital stay were 4.8 months and 10 days. Twenty-three patients underwent sedated TTE (15%). Sedated TTE significantly improved visualization of the RPA (100% vs 82%, p = 0.029) and LPA, though this did not reach statistical significance (100% vs 91%, p = 0.129). Sedated TTEs has significantly better image quality (median of 4 vs 3, p < 0.001). There were no serious adverse events due to sedation. Sedated TTE early post-BDG is safe, improves visualization of the RPA and LPA, and improves overall image quality. Routine sedated TTE in these patients should be considered. Implications for long-term outcome need to be further analyzed.