Neurodevelopmental impairment is a significant consequence for survivors of surgery for critical congenital heart disease. This study sought to determine if intraoperative methylprednisolone during neonatal cardiac surgery is associated with neurodevelopmental outcomes at 12 months of age and to identify early prognostic variables associated with neurodevelopmental outcomes.
A planned secondary analysis of a two-center, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of intraoperative methylprednisolone in neonates undergoing cardiac surgery was performed. A brain injury biomarker was measured perioperatively. Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III (BSID-III) were performed at 12 months of age. Two sample t-tests and generalized linear models were used.
There were 129 participants (n=61 methylprednisolone, n=68 placebo). There were no significant differences in BSID-III scores and brain injury biomarker levels between the two treatment groups. Participants who underwent a palliative (vs. corrective) procedure had lower mean BSID-III cognitive (101+15 vs. 106+14, p=0.03) and motor scores (85+18 vs. 94+16, p<0.01). Longer ventilation time was associated with lower motor scores. Longer cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) stay was associated with lower cognitive, language, and motor scores. Cardiopulmonary bypass time, aortic cross clamp time, and deep hypothermic circulatory arrest were not associated with BSID-III scores.
Neurodevelopmental outcomes were not associated with intraoperative methylprednisolone or intraoperative variables. Participants who underwent a neonatal palliative (vs. corrective) procedure had longer CICU stays and worse neurodevelopmental outcomes at 1 year. This work suggests that interventions focused solely on the operative period may not be associated with a long-term neurodevelopmental benefit.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.