Context: Although access to subspecialty pediatric palliative care (PPC) is increasing, little is known about the role of PPC for children with advanced heart disease (AHD). Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine features of subspecialty PPC involvement for children with AHD. Methods: This is a retrospective single-institution medical record review of patients with a primary diagnosis of AHD for whom the PPC team was initially consulted between 2011 and 2016. Results: Among 201 patients, 87% had congenital/structural heart disease, the remainder having acquired/nonstructural heart disease. Median age at initial PPC consultation was 7.7 months (range 1 day–28.8 years). Of the 92 patients who were alive at data collection, 73% had received initial consultation over one year before. Most common indications for consultation were goals of care (80%) and psychosocial support (54%). At initial consultation, most families (67%) expressed that their primary goal was for their child to live as long and as comfortably as possible. Among deceased patients (n = 109), median time from initial consultation to death was 33 days (range 1 day–3.6 years), and children whose families expressed that their primary goal was for their child to live as comfortably as possible were less likely to die in the intensive care unit (P = 0.03) and more likely to die in the setting of comfort care or withdrawal of life-sustaining interventions (P = 0.008). Conclusion: PPC involvement for children with AHD focuses on goals of care and psychosocial support. Findings suggest that PPC involvement at end of life supports goal-concordant care. Further research is needed to clarify the impact of PPC on patient outcomes.
Marcus, K. L., Balkin, E. M., Al-Sayegh, H., Guslits, E., Blume, E. D., Ma, C., & Wolfe, J. (2018). Patterns and Outcomes of Care in Children With Advanced Heart Disease Receiving Palliative Care Consultation. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 55(2), 351–358. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2017.08.033