Background: Acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) is a highly morbid condition among adults. Little is known about outcomes in children with ADHF. We analyzed the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium registry to determine the epidemiology, contemporary treatments, and predictors of mortality in critically ill children with ADHF.
Methods: Cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) patients ≤18 years of age meeting Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium criteria for ADHF were included. ADHF was defined as systolic or diastolic dysfunction requiring continuous vasoactive or diuretic infusion, respiratory support, or mechanical circulatory support. Demographics, diagnosis, therapies, complications, and mortality are described for the cohort. Predictors of CICU mortality were identified using logistic regression.
Results: Among 26 294 consecutive admissions (23 centers), 1494 (6%) met criteria for analysis. Median age was 0.93 years (interquartile range, 0.1-9.3 years). Patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) comprised 57% of the cohort. Common therapies included the following: vasoactive infusions (88%), central venous catheters (86%), mechanical ventilation (59%), and high flow nasal cannula (46%). Common complications were arrhythmias (19%), cardiac arrest (10%), sepsis (7%), and acute renal failure requiring dialysis (3%). Median length of CICU stay was 7.9 days (interquartile range, 3-18 days) and the CICU readmission rate was 22%. Overall, CICU mortality was 15% although higher for patients with CHD versus non-CHD (19% versus 11%; P<0.001). Independent risk factors associated with CICU mortality included age <30 days, CHD, vasoactive infusions, ventricular tachycardia, mechanical ventilation, sepsis, pulmonary hypertension, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and cardiac arrest.
Conclusions: ADHF in children is characterized by comorbidities, high mortality rates, and frequent readmission, especially among patients with CHD. Opportunities exist to determine best practices around appropriate use of mechanical support, cardiac arrest prevention, and optimal heart transplantation candidacy to improve outcomes for these patients.
Keywords: critical care; demography; heart failure; pediatrics; quality of care.