We utilized the multicenter Pediatric Acute Care Cardiology Collaborative (PAC3) 2017 and 2019 surveys to describe practice variation in therapy availability and changes over a 2-year period. A high acuity therapies (ATs) score was derived (1 point per positive response) from 44 survey questions and scores were compared to center surgical volume. Of 31 centers that completed the 2017 survey, 26 also completed the 2019 survey. Scores ranged from 11 to 34 in 2017 and 11 to 35 in 2019. AT scores in 2019 were not statistically different from 2017 scores (29/44, IQR 27-32.5 vs. 29.5/44, IQR 27-31, p = 0.9). In 2019, more centers reported initiation of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and Bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) in Acute Care Cardiology Unit (ACCU) (19/26 vs. 4/26, p < 0.001) and permitting continuous CPAP/BiPAP (22/26 vs. 14/26, p = 0.034) compared to 2017. Scores in both survey years were significantly higher in the highest surgical volume group compared to the lowest, 33 ± 1.5 versus 25 ± 8.5, p = 0.046 and 32 ± 1.7 versus 23 ± 5.5, p = 0.009, respectively. Variation in therapy within the ACCUs participating in PAC3 presents an opportunity for shared learning across the collaborative. Experience with PAC3 was associated with increasing available respiratory therapies from 2017 to 2019. Whether AT scores impact the quality and outcomes of pediatric acute cardiac care will be the subject of further investigation using a comprehensive registry launched in early 2019.
Keywords: Congenital heart disease; Hospitalist medicine; Inpatient cardiology; Pediatric Acute Care Cardiology Collaborative (PAC3); Pediatric cardiology.