Transfer of Neonates with Critical Congenital Heart Disease Within a Regionalized Network

Michael F. Swartz, Jill M. Cholette, Jennifer M. Orie, Marshall L Jacobs, Jeffrey P. Jacobs, George M. Alfieris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Regionalization of pediatric cardiac surgical care varies between and within states. In most geographic regions, at least some neonates with critical heart disease are transferred from their birth hospital to a different hospital for surgery. The impact of neonatal transfer for surgery, particularly over a considerable distance (>10 miles), has been largely unexplored. We sought to examine the impact of transferring neonates for cardiac surgery. We queried the New York State Cardiac Surgery database (2005–2014) from a single institution to identify neonates born within the cardiac surgery center and those transferred for surgery. Outcomes were compared between groups, with subgroup analysis of neonates with single ventricle anatomy. 113 surgical neonates were born at the cardiac surgery center, and 268 were transferred to the cardiac surgery center. Median transfer distance was 91 (IQR 73, 94) miles. Age at operation and the need for preoperative ventilation were significantly lower in neonates born at the cardiac surgery center. In addition, single ventricle anatomy was more prevalent among those born at the cardiac surgery center (48.7 vs. 31.3%; p = 0.001). However, postoperative outcomes were the same—30-day survival was similar across groups (birth: 89% vs. transfer: 90%; p = 0.7), and for those with single ventricle palliation (birth: 81% vs. transfer: 81%; p = 0.9). Within our regionalized network, we found no difference in 30-day survival between neonates either born or transferred to a cardiac surgery center, which supports the use of a regionalized network of hospitals to the care of children with congenital heart disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Cardiology
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 15 2017


  • Critical congenital heart disease
  • Neonate
  • Regionalization
  • Transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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