Developmental outcomes at 3 years of age following major non-cardiac and cardiac surgery in term infants: A population-based study

J Paediatr Child Health. 2015 Dec;51(12):1221-5. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12943. Epub 2015 Jun 17.


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine whether there remain developmental differences between term infants at 3 years of age following major non-cardiac surgery (NCS) and cardiac surgery (CS) compared with healthy control infants in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

Study design: Between 2006 and 2008, term infants who required NCS or CS within the first ninety days of life were enrolled in a prospective population-based study. Their developmental outcome was then compared with a cohort of healthy term infants. Infants initially assessed at 1 year of age were then re-assessed at 3 years of age using the Bayley scales of infant and toddler development (version-

Iii) results: Of the 539 term infants assessed at 1 year of age, 417 returned for the 3-year assessment, with 378 complete assessments. The mean scores for the infants who underwent CS (P < 0.001) were significantly lower in all subscales of the assessment compared with the controls, while the mean scores for the infants who underwent NCS were significantly lower in three of the subscales (P < 0.05). The infants who underwent CS scored significantly lower in four of the subscales (P < 0.05), compared with the infants who underwent NCS.

Conclusion: The second phase of this unique population-based study provides further data on the outcomes of infants who underwent major NCS and CS. Major surgery in infants continues to be associated with developmental delay at 3 years of age compared with control infants; however the majority of the delay is mild. The risk remains higher in CS group with the pattern and severity of delay similar to that observed in the first study.

Keywords: birth defect; cardiac surgery; developmental outcome; non-cardiac surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures*
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • New South Wales
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome