Outcome of pediatric cardiac surgery

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Pediatric heart surgery aims to correct or palliate cardiac malformations, and to maximize the quality of life of the patients. This thesis investigates the late outcome after surgery for congenital cardiac defects to assess the quality and progress of treatment during the last decades. It also studies outcomes after the arterial switch operation (ASO) for treatment of transposition of the great arteries (TGA) and pediatric heart transplantation. Data was obtained from a national database containing all pediatric heart operations performed since 1953 in one of five university- and one regional hospital in Finland. Causes of death were obtained from Statistics Finland and categorized into congenital heart defect (CHD)- related and non-CHD-related causes of death. CHD-related deaths were further divided into heart failure-, post-reoperative early-, cardiovascular-, and sudden deaths. Between 1953 and 2009, 13,786 cardiac operations were performed on 10,964 pediatric patients in Finland. Follow-up coverage was 98%. Early operative mortality was 5.6% for all operations. The 60-year survival for the entire study was 70% versus 86% for the general population. The number and proportion of severe cardiac defects increased in the 2000s, whereas surgery for simple defects decreased. Operative age and early operative mortality decreased significantly among all defect groups. Long-term survival of all patients improved significantly during recent decades. The most common cause of death was heart failure, which decreased among the majority of defect groups. Sudden death was reduced to zero among patients with simple defects and TGA, but remained a challenge among patients with univentricular heart configurations. ASO resulted in markedly improved early operative mortality and late outcome after correction of TGA when compared to the Mustard and Senning operations, with zero sudden deaths. Early mortality after pediatric heart transplantation was 10%, with a late outcome of 68% at 10 years after the transplantation. In conclusion, both early and long-term outcome after surgery for CHD s has improved. The reason is multifaceted, including advances in diagnostic tools, perioperative care, intensive care, and surgical techniques, allowing earlier treatment of increasingly severe defects. Sudden deaths and heart failure have markedly diminished, but remain a risk factor among patients with severe defects. These results underscore the importance of long-term follow-up after surgery for severe defects.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHelsinki
Print ISBNs978-951-51-2437-1
Electronic ISBNs978-951-51-2438-8
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Fields of Science

  • 3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
  • 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology

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