Regionalization in neonatal congenital heart surgery: The impact of distance on outcome after discharge

Nelangi M. Pinto, Javier Lasa, Troy E. Dominguez, Gil Wernovsky, Sarah Tabbutt, Meryl S. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Studies have shown improved perioperative outcomes after neonatal heart surgery at centers with greater surgical volumes. The impact of increasing distance from such centers on outcome after discharge has not yet been reported. Chart review and cross-sectional survey were performed on children discharged or transferred after undergoing neonatal congenital heart surgery as neonates (<30 days of age) from January 2005 to June 2006. The association of distance from center with mortality and adverse events was analyzed by univariate and multivariate regression and stratified by the Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery-1 for complexity. Among 217 patients, those living further from the surgical center were smaller and older at surgery and more likely to be RACHS- 1 class 6. Overall mortality was 8% (16 of 202) and was not associated with distance. Surveys were completed by 109 (54%) families with mean follow-up of 24 (±3) months. Unplanned admissions after discharge and unplanned interventions occurred in 45% and 40% of patients, respectively. After adjusting for case complexity, living 90-300 min away from the surgical center was associated with fewer unplanned admissions compared with those living <90 min away. After neonatal cardiac surgery, adverse events were common. Distance from the surgical center was not associated with mortality, but it was associated with morbidity in a nonlinear fashion. This relation, its mediators, and its possible impact on mortality and later outcomes warrant further study to aid in planning appropriate patient follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-238
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Congenital
  • Heart defects
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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