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.
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