Bioactive adrenomedullin (bio-ADM) is associated with endothelial dysfunction in infants and children with complex congenital heart disease undergoing open-heart surgery on cardiopulmonary bypass

Clin Chem Lab Med. 2023 Oct 24;62(3):551-561. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2023-0511. Print 2024 Feb 26.


Objectives: Children with congenital heart disease (CHD) undergoing cardiac surgery on cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) are at risk for systemic inflammation leading to endothelial dysfunction associated with increased morbidity. Bioactive adrenomedullin (bio-ADM) is a peptide regulating vascular tone and endothelial permeability. The aim of this study was to evaluate the dynamics of plasma bio-ADM in this patient cohort and its role in capillary leak.

Methods: Plasma samples from 73 pediatric CHD patients were collected for bio-ADM measurement at five different timepoints (TP) in the pre-, intra-, and post-operative period. The primary endpoint was a net increase in bio-ADM levels after surgery on CPB. Secondary endpoints included association of bio-ADM levels with clinical signs for endothelial dysfunction.

Results: Bio-ADM levels increased after surgery on CPB from pre-operative median of 12 pg/mL (IQR [interquartile range] 12.0-14.8 pg/mL) to a maximum post-operative median of 48.8 pg/mL (IQR 34.5-69.6 pg/mL, p<0.001). Bio-ADM concentrations correlated positively with post-operative volume balance, (r=0.341; p=0.005), increased demand for vasoactive medication (duration: r=0.415; p<0.001; quantity: TP3: r=0.415, p<0.001; TP4: r=0.414, p<0.001), and hydrocortisone treatment for vasoplegia (bio-ADM median [IQR]:129.1 [55.4-139.2] pg/mL vs. 37.9 [25.2-64.6] pg/mL; p=0.034). Patients who required pleural effusion drainage revealed higher bio-ADM levels compared to those who did not (median [IQR]: 66.4 [55.4-90.9] pg/mL vs. 40.2 [28.2-57.0] pg/mL; p<0.001).

Conclusions: Bio-ADM is elevated in children after cardiac surgery and higher levels correlate with clinical signs of capillary leakage. The peptide should be considered as biomarker for endothelial dysfunction and as potential therapeutic target in this indication.

Keywords: bioactive adrenomedullin; biomarker; capillary leak; cardiopulmonary bypass; congenital heart disease; endothelial dysfunction.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenomedullin
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures*
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass
  • Child
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant


  • Adrenomedullin
  • Biomarkers