AIM: (1) To systematically review the literature on developmental outcomes from infancy to adolescence of children with complex congenital heart disease (CHD) who underwent early surgery; (2) to run a meta-regression analysis on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition Mental Developmental Index and Psychomotor Developmental Index (PDI) of infants up to 24 months and IQs of preschool-aged children to adolescents; (3) to assess associations between perioperative risk factors and outcomes.
METHOD: We searched pertinent literature (January 1990 to January 2019) in PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. Selection criteria included infants with complex CHD who had primary surgery within the first 9 weeks of life. Methodological quality, including risk of bias and internal validity, were assessed.
RESULTS: In total, 185 papers met the inclusion criteria; the 100 with high to moderate methodological quality were analysed in detail. Substantial heterogeneity in the group with CHD and in methodology existed. The outcome of infants with single-ventricle CHD was inferior to those with two-ventricle CHD (respectively: average scores for PDI 77 and 88; intelligence scores 92 and 98). Perioperative risk factors were inconsistently associated with developmental outcomes.
INTERPRETATION: The literature on children undergoing surgery in early infancy suggests that infants with a single ventricle are at highest risk of adverse developmental outcomes.
WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: Children with complex congenital heart disease (CHD) are at increased risk of impaired developmental outcome. Children with single-ventricle CHD have worse outcomes than children with two-ventricle CHD. Children with two-ventricle CHD gradually grow out of their initial developmental impairment. Perioperative factors are inconsistently associated with outcome.