Am J Perinatol 2018; 35(06): 557-560
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1639358
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Surgery for Congenital Heart Disease: Improvements in Outcomes

Gerard R. Martin
1  Division of Cardiology, Children's National Heart Institute and the George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, District of Columbia
,
Richard A. Jonas
2  Division of Cardiac Surgery, Children's National Heart Institute and the George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, District of Columbia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
25 April 2018 (online)

Abstract

Cardiac surgery for congenital heart disease has changed dramatically since the first surgery in 1938. During the early era, children underwent surgery at older ages often with palliative procedures before their corrective operation. Not surprisingly, in the early era, there was considerably higher early and late mortality, including the additive risks of having more than one procedure and a long period of living with an unphysiological palliated circulation. Over time with advances in noninvasive diagnosis, surgical approach, cardiopulmonary bypass techniques, and team-based care, outcomes have improved. Children now undergo corrective surgery at a younger age and have fewer palliative procedures. Short-term outcome as measured by the commonly used metric “procedural early mortality” (i.e., death before hospital discharge or less than 30 days following a surgical procedure) is now as low as 1 or 2% for many low-to-moderate complexity procedures. Late outcomes have also improved with long-term survival of hospital survivors for simple lesions being close to population controls. Late outcomes for more complex defects still show diminishing survival relative to a control population. Examination of the causes of death provides insights into areas in which clinical improvements may further improve the outlook for children with complex congenital heart disease.