Neurobehavioral evaluation of neonates with congenital heart disease: a cohort study.

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Developmental medicine and child neurology

MeSH Headings

Cardiopulmonary Bypass, Cognition Disorders, Cohort Studies, Developmental Disabilities, Female, Gestational Age, Heart Defects, Congenital, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Intensive Care Units, Neonatal, Male, Neurologic Examination, Psychomotor Disorders, Risk Factors


AIM: To describe neurobehavioral patterns in neonates with congenital heart disease (CHD).

METHOD: A cohort study describing neurobehavioral performance of neonates with CHD requiring cardiac surgery. The neonates were evaluated preoperatively and postoperatively with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Network Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS) and scores were compared with published normative values. Clinical factors were obtained by chart review to assess their association with behavior. The CHD NNNS score pattern was compared with previously reported profiles in other high-risk populations.

RESULTS: NNNS evaluations were completed on 67 neonates with CHD, resulting in 97 evaluations (50 preoperative, 47 postoperative). Compared with normative values, the cohort with CHD demonstrated decreased attention, regulation, asymmetry, stress, arousal, and excitability, along with increased non-optimal reflexes, lethargy, and need for handling (p

INTERPRETATION: Neonates with CHD demonstrate different neurobehavioral performance compared with typically developing neonates born at term as well as other high-risk neonates. Our experience suggests there is a unique neonatal neurobehavioral pattern in the hospitalized population with CHD. Targeted neonatal neurobehavioral evaluations may be useful in developing specific therapies to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes in neonates with CHD.

WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: Neonates with congenital heart disease demonstrate different neurobehavioral performance than typically developing neonates. Evaluation of neonatal neurobehavioral performance provides an opportunity to identify neurodevelopmental variability early. Identification of neurobehavioral performance variability allows targeted interactions and therapy.



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