Time to surgery and preoperative cerebral hemodynamics predict postoperative white matter injury in neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2014 Nov;148(5):2181-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2014.05.081. Epub 2014 Jun 27.


Objective: Hypoxic-ischemic white mater brain injury commonly occurs in neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Approximately one half of HLHS survivors will exhibit neurobehavioral symptoms believed to be associated with this injury, although the exact timing of the injury is unknown.

Methods: Neonates with HLHS were recruited for pre- and postoperative monitoring of cerebral oxygen saturation, cerebral oxygen extraction fraction, and cerebral blood flow using 2 noninvasive optical-based techniques: diffuse optical spectroscopy and diffuse correlation spectroscopy. Anatomic magnetic resonance imaging was performed before and approximately 1 week after surgery to quantify the extent and timing of the acquired white matter injury. The risk factors for developing new or worsened white matter injury were assessed using uni- and multivariate logistic regression.

Results: A total of 37 neonates with HLHS were studied. On univariate analysis, neonates who developed a large volume of new, or worsened, postoperative white matter injury had a significantly longer time to surgery (P=.0003). In a multivariate model, a longer time between birth and surgery, delayed sternal closure, and greater preoperative cerebral blood flow were predictors of postoperative white matter injury. Additionally, a longer time to surgery and greater preoperative cerebral blood flow on the morning of surgery correlated with lower cerebral oxygen saturation (P=.03 and P=.05, respectively) and greater oxygen extraction fraction (P=.05 for both).

Conclusions: A longer time to surgery was associated with new postoperative white matter injury in otherwise healthy neonates with HLHS. The results suggest that earlier Norwood palliation might decrease the likelihood of acquiring postoperative white matter injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / surgery*
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / diagnosis
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / etiology*
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / physiopathology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leukoencephalopathies / diagnosis
  • Leukoencephalopathies / etiology*
  • Leukoencephalopathies / physiopathology
  • Logistic Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Norwood Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Palliative Care
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Factors
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared
  • Time Factors
  • Time-to-Treatment*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Oxygen