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Initial Experience with Telemedicine for Interstage Monitoring in Infants with Palliated Congenital Heart Disease

HumanInsight Initial Experience with Telemedicine for Interstage Monitoring in Infants with Palliated Congenital Heart Disease

Pediatr Cardiol. 2022 Sep 1. doi: 10.1007/s00246-022-02993-y. Online ahead of print.


Infants with staged surgical palliation for congenital heart disease are at high-risk for interstage morbidity and mortality; home monitoring programs have mitigated these risks. In 2019, we instituted telemedicine (TM) in our established Infant Single Ventricle Monitoring Program. All consecutive patients discharged following neonatal operation/intervention were monitored until subsequent stage 2 surgical palliation. We offered TM (synchronous video) visits as part of regularly scheduled follow-up, replacing at least one in-person primary care visit with a TM cardiologist visit. We tracked emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, how TM identified clinical concerns, and whether use of TM prevented unnecessary ED visits or expedited in-person assessment. We assessed caregiver and clinician satisfaction. Between 8/2019 and 5/2020, we conducted 60 TM visits for 29 patients. Of 31 eligible patients, 2 families (6.9%) declined. Median monitoring time was 199 days (range 75-264) and median number of TM visits/patient was 2 (range 1-5). In 6 visits (10%), significant clinical findings were identified which avoided an ED visit. Five TM visits led to expedited outpatient assessments, of which 1 patient required hospitalization. There were no missed events or deaths. Median ED visits/patient/month were significantly lower compared to the same calendar period of the prior year (0.0 (0-2.5) vs. 0.4 (0-3.7), p = 0.0004). Caregivers and clinicians expressed high levels of satisfaction with TM. TM for this high-risk population is feasible and effective in identifying clinical concerns and preventing unnecessary ED visits. TM was particularly effective during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for easy adaptation of care to ensure patient safety in this fragile cohort.

PMID:36050411 | DOI:10.1007/s00246-022-02993-y

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