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Cardiology in the Young ; 32(Supplement 2):S212, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2062125


Background and Aim: Before 2020, no pediatric cardiac surgery pro-gram was available at our institution, despite being a university hospital providing tertiary care for 6 million inhabitants. Our goal is to describe the preparation and the first year of expe-rience of our pediatric cardiac surgery program, which will even-tually cater for 300 patients annually. Method(s): The project was supported by European funds (INTERREG program). Medical and nursing staff training was performed via a transborder collaboration. Significant investments were necessary to reach the required standards for the facilities (operating rooms, pediatric intensive care beds) and equipment (cardiopulmonary bypass and ECMO machines, ultrasound sys-tems etc.). A multidisciplinary team was built over 3 years. The pediatric ECMO program was started a year prior to the surgical program. In parallel, a program dedicated to the study and care of neurological impact of congenital heart diseases and interventions was set up. Importantly, a progressive upscale was devised: only children with a weight gt;5 kg requiring non-complex surgeries were operated on during the first year. Result(s): The first year of experience was marked by challenges caused by the successive COVID-19 waves, such as restricted access to the operating room and a subsequent slow-down in the progression of the schedule. Fifty-nine patients constituted the cohort of the first year (October 2020-October 2021). In addition to low-risk procedures (left-to-right shunts closures etc.), cases included 6 tetralogy of Fallot repairs, 1 Ross procedure and 2 bilateral cavopulmonary connections. There were no early or late deaths. Median age was 6.3 years old (1.8-9.8) and median weight was 18.5 kg (10.0-32.0). Fourteen patients (23.7%) were operated on with a weight lt;10 kg. Bypass cases represented 72.9% (43 patients) of all cases. Median cardiopulmonary bypass and cross-clamping times were 88 (52-153) and 51 (26-98) minutes respectively. Median intensive care and hospital stays were 3 (2.0-6.7) and 6 days (5-11) respectively. Conclusion(s): Despite COVID-19-related difficulties, our pediatric cardiac surgery program achieved excellent outcomes in selected patients. Institutional support, meticulous planning, team cohesion and perseverance are keys for successful initiation of a program requiring such high technicality.