OBJECTIVE. Two strategies for surgical management are used for infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), primary heart transplantation and the Norwood procedure. We sought to determine how these 2 surgical approaches influence neurodevelopmental outcomes at school age.
METHODS. A multicenter, cross-sectional study of neurodevelopmental outcomes among school-aged children (>8 years of age) with HLHS was undertaken between July 2003 and September 2004. Four centers enrolled 48 subjects, of whom 47 completed neuropsychologic testing. Twenty-six subjects (55%) had undergone the Norwood procedure and 21 (45%) had undergone transplantation, with an intention-to-treat analysis. The mean age at testing was 12.4 ± 2.5 years. Evaluations included the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence, Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals, Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, and Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration.
RESULTS. The mean neurocognitive test results were significantly below population normative values. The mean full-scale IQ for the entire cohort was 86 ± 14. In a multivariate model, there was no association of surgical strategy with any measure of developmental outcome. A longer hospital stay, however, was associated significantly with lower verbal, performance, and full-scale IQ scores. Aortic valve atresia was associated with lower math achievement test scores.
CONCLUSIONS. Neurodevelopmental deficits are prevalent among school-aged children with HLHS, regardless of surgical approach. Complications that result in prolonged hospitalization at the time of the initial operation are associated with neurodevelopmental status at school age.