The importance of blood lactate clearance as a predictor of early mortality following the modified Norwood procedure

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Objective: Optimisation of Norwood physiology, with focus on systemic perfusion, has beneficial effects on haemodynamic stability and perioperative mortality following the Norwood procedure for hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Early identification of high-risk patients during the postoperative phase might allow for institution of alternative management strategies with the possibility of avoiding poor outcome. Several studies have suggested that arterial blood lactate level, as an index of systemic perfusion and oxygen delivery, can to some extent predict mortality following paediatric cardiac surgery, though these studies have included heterogeneous groups of patients with only few Norwood patients. We sought to determine whether the blood lactate profile could be used to derive a simple, clinically applicable decision algorithm to direct therapy in a pre-emptive manner and perhaps identify patients for elective extracorporeal life support following the Norwood procedure. Methods: We retrospectively analysed all patients at our institution who had undergone modified Norwood procedures between March 2002 and May 2008. All patients had received right ventricle-pulmonary artery conduits. Patients with systemic-pulmonary shunts were excluded. Outcome measures included 7-day and 30-day mortality. Serial arterial blood lactate measurements were taken in all patients for at least 72h. Conditional inference tree modelling was used to determine the discriminatory value of the lactate profile and other pre- and intra-operative risk factors in terms of selecting survivors. Results: As many as 221 patients were included. The 7-day ICU mortality was 26/219 (11.8%) with total 30-day mortality of 35/219 (15.8%). There were 21 interstage deaths. Mortality modelling demonstrated that an inability to clear blood lactate levels to <6.76mmoll -1 within the first 24h was highly discriminatory in terms of predicting death within the first 30 days. A total of 11 out of 12 patients in this group died. Other risk factors examined, including weight, ascending aorta size, cardiopulmonary bypass and ischaemic times, were not as predictive in our model. Conclusion: We have identified minimum blood lactate level within the first 24h after the Sano-Norwood procedure as a highly discriminatory predictor of perioperative mortality. These patients might benefit from elective institution of early mechanical circulatory support. © 2011 European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery.




Murtuza, B., Wall, D., Reinhardt, Z., Stickley, J., Stumper, O., Jones, T. J., … Brawn, W. J. (2011). The importance of blood lactate clearance as a predictor of early mortality following the modified Norwood procedure. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, 40(5), 1207–1214.

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