Introduction and aim: Focussed cardiac intensive care is known to produce better outcomes. We have evaluated the benefits of a dedicated Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU) in the early postoperative outcomes of patients undergoing surgery for congenital heart disease.
Methods: Prospectively collected data of 634 consecutive patients who underwent congenital heart surgery from September 2008 to September 2009 were analyzed. Midway through this period a dedicated PCICU was started. The patients who were treated in this new PCICU formed the study group (Group B, n = 318). The patients who were treated in a common postoperative cardiac surgery ICU formed the control group (Group A, n = 316). Early postoperative outcomes between the two groups were compared.
Results: The two groups were comparable with respect to demographic data and intraoperative variables. The duration of mechanical ventilation in the dedicated pediatric cardiac ICU group (32.22 ± 52.02 hours) was lower when compared with the combined adult and pediatric surgery ICU group (42.92 ± 74.24 hours, P= 0.04). There was a shorter duration of ICU stay in the dedicated pediatric cardiac ICU group (2.69 ± 2.9 days vs. 3.43 ± 3.80 days, P = 0.001). The study group also showed a shorter duration of inotropic support and duration of invasive lines. The incidence of blood stream infections was also lower in the dedicated pediatric ICU group (5.03 vs. 9.18%, P = 0.04). A subgroup analysis of neonates and infants <1 year showed that the advantages of a dedicated pediatric intensive care unit were more pronounced in this group of patients.
Conclusions: Establishment of a dedicated pediatric cardiac intensive care unit has shown better outcomes in terms of earlier extubation, de-intensification, and discharge from the ICU. Blood stream infections were also reduced.
Keywords: Pediatric cardiac intensive care; dedicated intensive care unit; intensivist.