This application proposes a randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial of the use of glucocorticoids to improve the clinical course of neonates following cardiac surgery. Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) is critical to cardiac surgery, but the pathophysiologic processes engendered by CPB play an important role in post- operative recovery. The use, doses and schedule of glucortocoid administration to ameliorate these CPB induced processes is highly variable and without clear data to provide direction. The Primary Aim of this study is to compare the effects of intraoperative methypredisolone to placebo on a composite morbidity-mortalitiy outcome following neonatal CPB. Secondary Endpoints include: inotropic requirements, incidence of low cardiac output syndrome, fluid balance, ICU stay parameters, levels of inflammatory molecules, neuro- developmental outcomes, and safety parameters. The study will focus on neonates because their post-CPB clinical course is typically more severe, and that high level of severity itself provides a substrate for identifying the positive effects of a particular therapy. Finally, a therapy identified as beneficial has the greatest potential for benefit in this vulnerable population. A unique aspect of the protocol is the use of a novel multiplexer technology which allows analysis of a broad array of cytokines, matrix metalloproteinases and microribonucleic acids from a sample of one milliliter or less of whole blood. The results of this study should clearly define the clinical utility of steroids and help determine the mechanisms for any observed effect. Based on the frequency of complex congenital heart defects, the incidence of the low cardiac output, and the daily costs of ICU care, a reduction in postoperative morbidity can be estimated to decrease total healthcare expenditures in the US by hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Public Health Relevance

Although cardiopulmonary bypass (heart-lung machine) is a necessary component of heart surgery, it is not without consequences. Cardiopulmonary bypass initiates a potent inflammatory response secondary to the body's recognition of the abnormal environment of the heart-lung machine. This inflammatory response may lead to poor heart, lung and kidney function after the heart surgery. This is turn can lead to longer times on the ventilator (breathing machine), the need for higher doses of heart medications, a longer stay in the intensive care unit and even death. This is particularly true in infants less than one month of age due to their size and the immaturity of their organs. The appreciation of the post-cardiopulmonary bypass inflammatory response has resulted in a number of interventions directed at its reduction. No therapy has been recognized as the standard of care;however steroid therapy has been applied most often despite unclear evidence of a benefit. This study aims to determine if steroids improve the outcomes of babies undergoing heart surgery.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-SBIB-V (82))
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Rosenberg, Ellen
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Medical University of South Carolina
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Graham, Eric M (2016) The author replies. Pediatr Crit Care Med 17:476-7
Elhoff, Justin J; Chowdhury, Shahryar M; Zyblewski, Sinai C et al. (2016) Intraoperative Steroid Use and Outcomes Following the Norwood Procedure: An Analysis of the Pediatric Heart Network's Public Database. Pediatr Crit Care Med 17:30-5
Buckley, Jason R; Graham, Eric M (2016) Predicting Acute Kidney Injury After Pediatric Cardiac Surgery: Are Steroids Muddying the Water? Pediatr Crit Care Med 17:168-70
Graham, Eric M (2015) The Role of Prophylactic Postoperative Steroids in Pediatric Cardiac Operations. Pediatr Crit Care Med 16:676-7
Graham, Eric M (2014) The utility of steroids in pediatric cardiac operations*. Pediatr Crit Care Med 15:492-3