Utilisation of early intervention services in young children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome

Cardiol Young. 2018 Jan;28(1):126-133. doi: 10.1017/S104795111700169X. Epub 2017 Aug 29.


Objective: Children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome are at a risk for neurodevelopmental delays. Current guidelines recommend systematic evaluation and management of neurodevelopmental outcomes with referral for early intervention services. The Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial represents the largest cohort of children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome ever assembled. Data on life events and resource utilisation have been collected annually. We sought to determine the type and prevalence of early intervention services used from age 1 to 4 years and factors associated with utilisation of services.

Methods: Data from 14-month neurodevelopmental assessment and annual medical history forms were used. We assessed the impact of social risk and geographic differences. Fisher exact tests and logistic regression were used to evaluate associations.

Results: Annual medical history forms were available for 302 of 314 children. Greater than half of the children (52-69%) were not receiving services at any age assessed, whereas 20-32% were receiving two or more therapies each year. Utilisation was significantly lower in year 4 (31%) compared with years 1-3 (with a range from 40 to 48%) (p<0.001). Social risk factors were not associated with the use of services at any age but there were significant geographic differences. Significant delay was reported by parents in 18-43% of children at ages 3 and 4.

Conclusion: Despite significant neurodevelopmental delays, early intervention service utilisation was low in this cohort. As survival has improved for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, attention must shift to strategies to optimise developmental outcomes, including enrolment in early intervention when merited.

Keywords: CHD; early intervention; neurodevelopmental disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Medical Intervention / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / psychology*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery*
  • Heart Ventricles / abnormalities*
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors