Acute Neurologic Injury in Children Admitted to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Jamie L. Bell, Lucas Saenz, Yuliya Domnina, Tracy Baust, Ashok Panigrahy, Michael J. Bell, Marta Camprubí-Camprubí, Joan Sanchez-de-Toledo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Children with acquired and congenital heart disease both have low mortality but an increased risk of neurologic morbidity that is multifactorial. Our hypothesis was that acute neurologic injuries contribute to mortality in such children and are an important cause of death. Methods: All admissions to the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (CICU)from January 2011 through January 2015 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were assessed for any acute neurologic events (ANEs)during admission, as defined by radiologic findings or seizures documented on an electroencephalogram. Results: Of the 1,573 children admitted to the CICU, the incidence of ANEs was 8.6%. Mortality of the ANE group was 16.3% compared with 1.5% for those who did not have an ANE. The odds ratio for death with ANEs was 8.55 (95% confidence interval, 4.56 to 16.03). Patients with ANEs had a longer hospital length of stay than those without ANEs (41.4 ± 4 vs 14.2 ± 0.6 days; p < 0.001). Need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, previous cardiac arrest, and prematurity were independently associated with the presence of an ANE. Conclusions: Neurologic injuries are common in pediatric CICUs and are associated with an increase in mortality and hospital length of stay. Children admitted to the CICU are likely to benefit from improved surveillance and neuroprotective strategies to prevent neurologic death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1831-1837
Number of pages7
JournalThe Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


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