News | July 10, 2013

Growth Outcomes of Infants with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome Targeted in New Study

July 10, 2013 — Researchers have announced the results of a retrospective five-year clinical study, which shows that echocardiography can be useful in identifying new strategies for combating the growth failure in infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). The high mortality and morbidity rate for these high-risk infants with congenital cardiac anomalies has been difficult to change, but this is a promising step for medical intervention.

“Despite improvements in survival after surgical palliation, mortality remains as high as 30 percent in these patients and is sometimes hard to predict. It is important, therefore, to continue to look for other potential risk factors within this high-risk population. Our goal was to use echocardiography to investigate fetal vascular predictors of post-natal growth,” stated Thomas Miller, DO, the study’s primary investigator. Miller and his colleagues analyzed 65 infants, finding that, unlike healthy infants, the umbilical artery systolic and diastolic ratio did not decrease with gestational age in many patients with HLHS. Using echocardiography they have shown that uteroplacental insufficiency (UPI) may be a predictive marker to assess growth potential in these patients.

HLHS refers to a collection of congenital cardiac anomalies characterized by underdevelopment or incomplete development or absence of the left ventricle and severe underdevelopment of the ascending aorta. The infant’s circulation can be critically compromised because of its systemic and/or pulmonary vasculature or, after surgery, by subsequent systemic inflammatory response.

The study, “Umbilical Artery Systolic to Diastolic Ratio and Growth Outcomes in Infants with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome,” was presented as a poster at the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) 24th Annual Scientific Sessions.

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