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New Techniques May Improve Infant Heart Surgery

New Techniques May Improve Infant Heart Surgery

04/25/12

WEDNESDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Two new monitoring techniques may provide early warnings about possible brain damage in children as they undergo surgery for heart defects, researchers report.

Autoregulation monitoring is a noninvasive technique that can determine when blood flow to the brain may be low. The other method, a blood test, uses a small sample of blood to detect brain-tissue injury during surgery.

Doctors previously had no way to detect brain injuries as they occurred during heart surgery.

Details of the research are to be presented Wednesday during an American Heart Association press briefing.

Brain injury occurs in 30 percent to 70 percent of infants and children who have surgery to repair congenital heart defects, which are heart abnormalities present at birth. For each 1,000 live births in the United States, about eight babies will have some type of heart defect, according to a heart association news release.

This was a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of new ways to monitor for brain damage while children have surgery to repair heart defects. The researchers plan to conduct another study to assess the effectiveness of these brain monitoring techniques 18 months after surgery.

Researchers' data and conclusions should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The March of Dimes has more about congenital heart defects.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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