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The importance of mean arterial blood pressure in the development of brain injury in infants requiring cardiac surgery

The role blood pressure plays in avoiding brain injury for children undergoing critical heart surgery. 

Clinician: Dr Anusha Ganeshalingham, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit

project 5 - Anusha

What: Investigating the cause of neurodevelopmental delays in 'heart children'.

Who: Infants undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass surgery at Starship across a 24-month period.

How: This study, by an internationally respected team, will look at the relationship between blood pressure during, and after, cardiac surgery as the potential link to brain injury and future neurodevelopmental delays. The study will also assess the critical blood pressure threshold to avoid injury as currently there is no published data to inform clinical practice.

Why: Sadly, children who undergo cardiac surgery as infants are at increased risk of learning difficulties as they grow older. Why this occurs is not known and white matter injury detected on specialised brain scans is considered to be the crucial link.

Preventing brain injury may not only improve neurodevelopmental outcomes in the growing population of 'heart kids' in New Zealand but also decrease the significant educational, economic and societal burden created by this potentially avoidable consequence of critical cardiac surgery.

Brain MRI

 

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