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An Assessment of the Practice of Neuromuscular Blockade and the Association Between Its Prophylactic Use and Outcomes Among Postoperative Pediatric Cardiac Patients.

OBJECTIVES: The authors investigated the management of neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBAs) for pediatric patients after cardiac surgery, and compared the outcomes of patients who received prophylactic NMBA (pNMBA) infusions and patients without pNMBA infusions.

DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study.

SETTING: At a tertiary teaching hospital.

PARTICIPANTS: Patients younger than 18, with congenital heart disease, who underwent cardiac surgery.

INTERVENTIONS: Commencement of NMBA infusion in the first 2 hours after surgery MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The primary endpoint was a composite of one or more of the following major adverse events (MAEs) that occurred within 7 days after surgery: death from any cause, a circulatory collapse that needed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and requirement for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The secondary endpoints included the total duration of mechanical ventilation for the first 30 days after surgery. A total of 566 patients were included in this study. The MAEs occurred in 13 patients (2.3%). An NMBA was commenced within 2 hours after surgery in 207 patients (36.6%). There were significant differences in the incidence of postoperative MAEs between the pNMBA group and the non-pNMBA group (5.3% v 0.6%; p < 0.001). In multivariate regression models, pNMBA infusion was not significantly associated with the incidence of MAEs (odds ratio: 1.79, 95% CI: 0.23-13.93, p = 0.58), but was significantly associated with prolonged mechanical ventilation by 3.85 days (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Postoperative prophylactic neuromuscular blockade after cardiac surgery can be associated with prolonged mechanical ventilation, but has no association with MAEs among pediatric patients with congenital heart disease.

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