21.12.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 2/2020
The Benefits and Bias in Neurodevelopmental Evaluation for Children with Congenital Heart Disease
- Kristi L. Glotzbach, John J. Ward, Jennifer Marietta, Aaron W. Eckhauser, Sarah Winter, Michael D. Puchalski, Thomas A. Miller
Neurodevelopmental (ND) impairment is common in children with congenital heart disease (CHD). While routine ND surveillance and evaluation of high-risk patients has become the standard-of-care, capture rate, barriers to referral, and potential patient benefits remain incompletely understood. Electronic data warehouse records from a single center were reviewed to identify all eligible and evaluated patients between July 2015 and December 2017 based on current guidelines for ND screening in CHD. Diagnoses, referring provider, and payor were considered. Potential benefit of the evaluation was defined as receipt of new diagnosis, referral for additional evaluation, or referral for a new service. Contingencies were assessed with Fisher’s exact test. In this retrospective, cohort study, of 3434 children identified as eligible for ND evaluation, 135 were evaluated (4%). Appropriate evaluation was affected by diagnostic bias against coarctation of the aorta (CoArc) and favoring hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) (1.8 vs. 11.9%, p<0.01). Referrals were disproportionally made by a select group of cardiologists, and the rate of ND appointment non-compliance was higher in self-pay compared to insured patients (78% vs 27%, p<0.01). Potential benefit rate was 70–80% amongst individuals with the three most common diagnoses requiring neonatal surgery (CoArc, transposition of the great arteries, and HLHS). Appropriate ND evaluation in CHD is impacted by diagnosis, provider, and insurance status. Potential benefit of ND evaluation is high regardless of diagnosis. Strategies to improve access to ND evaluations and provider understanding of the at-risk population will likely improve longitudinal ND surveillance and clinical benefit.