Risk factors for preoperative periventricular leukomalacia in term neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are patient related

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2014 Apr;147(4):1312-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2013.06.021. Epub 2013 Jul 21.


Background: Preoperative brain injury is common in neonates with complex congenital heart disease. Increasing evidence suggests a complex interaction of prenatal and postnatal risk factors for development of brain white matter injury, called periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), in neonates with complex congenital heart disease. To date, there remains a limited understanding of the risk factors contributing to preoperative PVL in hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).

Methods: Neonates with HLHS or HLHS variants from 3 prospective magnetic resonance imaging studies (2003-2010) were selected for this cohort. Preoperative brain magnetic resonance imaging was performed the morning of the surgery. Stepwise multilogistic regression of patient characteristics, mode of delivery (cesarean section vs vaginal), time of diagnosis (prenatal vs postnatal), HLHS subtypes, brain total maturation score, time to surgery, individual averaged daily preoperative blood gases, and complete blood cell count values was used to determine significant associations.

Results: A total of 57 neonates with HLHS were born at 38.7 ± 2.3 weeks; 86% (49/57) had a prenatal diagnosis, with 31% (18/57) delivered by cesarean section. HLHS with aortic atresia (AA) was common in this cohort, 71% (41/57). Preoperative PVL was identified in 19% (11/57). Male patients with AA (P = .004) were at higher risk for PVL. Lower total brain maturation score was also identified as a strong predictor for preoperative PVL (P = .005).

Conclusions: In neonates with HLHS, nonmodifiable patient-related factors, including male sex with AA (lack of antegrade blood flow) and lower total brain maturation score, placed neonates at the greatest risk for preoperative white matter injury.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / complications*
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / surgery*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / complications*
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Preoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors