Long-distance transports of newborn infants with congenital heart disease

Pediatr Cardiol. 2001 Sep-Oct;22(5):380-4. doi: 10.1007/s002460010254.


Little has been published about specific problems that may occur during long-distance transports of newborn cardiac patients. During a 4-year period after centralization of pediatric heart surgery in Sweden, 286 transports were prospectively investigated. A majority (77.3%) of the transports were carried out by nonspecialized teams. Ten severe adverse events, including the death of 1 infant, occurred during the 286 transports (3.5%). Another infant died later of cerebral complications from hypoxia, rendering a transport-related mortality of 0.7%. Twenty-two infants (7.7%) were severely hypoxic (oxygen saturation < or =65%) at arrival, and 12 of these infants suffered from transposition of the great arteries. During the second 2-year period increased use of intravenous prostaglandin E1 and transportation from tertiary-level units was associated with better transport outcome. During the same time period, overall 30-day postoperative mortality for pediatric cardiac surgery decreased from 4.0% to 1.2% in our hospital. When highly specialized treatment is centralized for quality reasons it is also important that risks associated with transport are considered and that the quality of transport is high. For some cardiac malformations antenatal diagnosis and referral of the mother for delivery to a center with pediatric cardiac surgery would probably further increase the chance of healthy survival in some infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / mortality*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Patient Care Team
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sweden
  • Transportation of Patients / statistics & numerical data*