AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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In Children with Severe Heart Defect, More Brain Abnormalities Appear as Staged Surgeries Progress

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As children with single-ventricle disease, a complex and severe heart defect, undergo a series of three reconstructive surgeries, pediatric researchers have detected higher rates of brain abnormalities at each stage. The scientists also found associated changes in the infants’ cerebral blood flow that could offer important clues to improving long-term neurological outcomes in these children. “We have long known that children with single-ventricle disease have a strong risk of poor neurologic outcomes after surviving staged surgical reconstruction,” said pediatric cardiologist Mark A. Fogel, MD, primary investigator of the study team from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and director of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance. “This was the first study to measure the incidence of brain abnormalities throughout the three stages of surgery, and to investigate a correlation between cerebral blood flow and brain lesions.” The research was a single-center, National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored study of 168 single-ventricle patients who underwent staged surgical reconstruction at CHOP between 2009 and 2014.

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