Intraoperative Steroid Use and Outcomes Following the Norwood Procedure: An Analysis of the Pediatric Heart Network's Public Database

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2016 Jan;17(1):30-5. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000000541.


Objective: Data supporting the use of perioperative steroids during cardiac surgery are conflicting, and most pediatric studies have been limited by small sample sizes and/or diverse cardiac diagnoses. The objective of this study was to determine if intraoperative steroid administration improved outcomes following the Norwood procedure.

Design: A retrospective analysis was performed on the 549 neonates who underwent a Norwood procedure in the publicly available datasets from the Pediatric Heart Network's Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial. Groups were compared to determine if outcomes differed between intraoperative steroid recipients (n = 498, 91%) and nonrecipients (n = 51, 9%).

Setting: Fifteen North American centers.

Subjects: Infants enrolled in the Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: Baseline characteristics and intraoperative variables were similar between groups with the exception of a shorter duration of cross clamp and cardiopulmonary bypass time in the group that received steroids. Subjects who did not receive intraoperative steroids had improved hospital survival (94% vs 83%, p = 0.03) but longer ICU stays (16 d; interquartile range, 12-33 vs 14 d; interquartile range, 9-28; p = 0.04) and hospital stays (29 d; interquartile range, 21-50 vs 23 d; interquartile range, 15-40; p = 0.01) than steroid recipients. In multivariate analysis, lengths of stay associations were no longer significant, but hospital survival trended toward favoring the nonsteroid group with an odds ratio of 3.52 (95% CI, 0.98-12.64; p = 0.054).

Conclusions: In the large multicentered Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial, there was widespread use of intraoperative steroids. Intraoperative steroid administration was not associated with an improvement in outcomes and may be associated with a reduction in hospital survival in neonates undergoing the Norwood procedure. This study highlights the need for a randomized control trial.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage*
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass / methods
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / surgery*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Norwood Procedures / methods*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Perioperative Care / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones