Pneumonia, wheezing and asthma were more common in children after thymectomy due to open-heart surgery

Rea Rantanen, Minna Honkila, Hanna-Riikka Kämä, Tytti Pokka, Jaana Pihkala, Otto Rahkonen, Ilkka Mattila, Marjo Renko, Merja Helminen, Santtu Heinonen, Eliisa Kekäläinen, Merja Kallio, Terhi S. Ruuska

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Aim: This nationwide study evaluated the clinical impact that an early thymectomy, during congenital heart defect (CHD) surgery, had on the health of children and adolescents. Methods: The subjects were patients aged 1–15 years who had undergone CHD surgery at the University Children's Hospital, Helsinki, where all CHD surgery in Finland is carried out, from 2006 to 2018. The parents or the cases and population-based controls, matched for sex, age and hospital district, completed electronic questionnaires. We excluded those with low birth weights or a known immunodeficiency. Adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for prespecified outcomes. Results: We received responses relating to 260/450 (58%) cases and 1403/4500 (31%) controls and excluded 73 cases with persistent cardiac or respiratory complaints after surgery. The CHD group reported more recurrent hospitalisations due to infections (aOR 6.3, 95% CI 3.0–13) than the controls and more pneumonia episodes (aOR 3.5, 95% CI 2.1–5.6), asthma (aOR 2.5, 95% CI 1.5–4.1) and wheezing (aOR 2.1, 95% CI 1.5–2.9). Conclusion: Hospitalisation due to infections, pneumonia, wheezing and asthma was more common in children after a thymectomy due to open-heart surgery than population-based controls, underlining the importance of immunological follow-ups.

TidskriftActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Status!!E-pub ahead of print - 2024
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

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© 2024 The Authors. Acta Paediatrica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Foundation Acta Paediatrica.

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