MAY 05, 2017 1:34 PM PDT

Single-Ventricle Defects Definitively Linked to Brain Abnormalities

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

A rare series of heart defects classified as “single-ventricle disease” have been connected in the past to brain abnormalities, but the link has never been completely understood. Now, a study from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) breaks it down.

Credit: Psychiatry Advisor

Single-ventricle disease causes a child to be born with a severely altered ventricle, either smaller, underdeveloped, or missing a valve. This conditions includes many different types, all characterized by one ventricle that doesn’t function properly:

  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
  • Tricuspid atresia
  • Double outlet left ventricle (DOLV)
  • Some heterotaxy defects
  • Other congenital heart defects

The only major option in response to this condition is set of three reconstructive surgeries completed in stages. However, staged surgery is accompanied by a high risk of death and poor neurological outcomes, originating from the disease (genetics, cyanosis) and exacerbated by surgery (altered physiology and circulation). What effect do these things have on long-term neurological outcomes? This is what the team from CHOP aimed to answer in their study, published in Circulation.

"This was the first study to measure the incidence of brain abnormalities throughout the three stages of surgery, and to investigate a correlation between cerebral blood flow and brain lesions,” explained primary investigator of the study Mark A. Fogel, MD.

The study included 168 single-ventricle disease patients who received staged surgical reconstruction between 2009 and 2014. Researchers measured the prevalence of brain abnormalities over time, and they found that tissue loss, changes in white matter, and ventriculomegaly (enlargements in the brain’s fluid-filled cavities) were common.

They also looked for links between brain abnormalities and three circulatory factors: cerebral blood flow, oxygen delivery, and carbon dioxide reactivity. There they found that infants with higher cerebral blood flow were less likely to have brain abnormalities, but there was no apparent connection between brain abnormalities and carbon dioxide reactivity or oxygen delivery.

"Our research suggests the possibility that early measurements of [cerebral blood flow] and detection of brain abnormalities may help us to better identify which single-ventricle patients are at higher risk for poor outcomes,” Fogel explained. “Although more investigation needs to be done, we may find that techniques to increase cerebral blood flow and prevent neurological injury may offer early clinical interventions to improve long-term outcomes in children with congenital heart disease."

Sources: American Heart Association, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
MAR 24, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
MAR 24, 2020
Florida Won't Cap THC for Patients Under 21
Medical marijuana has been legal in Florida since 2016 when more than 70 percent of voters approved the related measure. In March 2020, Republican lawmaker
MAR 26, 2020
Microbiology
MAR 26, 2020
US Now Leads the World in Coronavirus Cases
In the United States, there have been 83,836 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and over 529,000 worldwide.
APR 07, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
APR 07, 2020
Computers Predict Diabetes with 94.9 Percent Accuracy
"Currently we do not have sufficient methods for predicting which generally healthy individuals will develop diabetes," says Akihiro Nomura of Ka
APR 08, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
APR 08, 2020
Does Tuberculosis Vaccine Really Defend from COVID-19?
The spread of COVID-19 has panned out very differently in different countries. While in some such as the US, the UK and Italy it has hit hard, in others, i
APR 08, 2020
Microbiology
APR 08, 2020
How the Vaginal Microbiome is Connected to Preterm Delivery
New research has connected the composition of the community of microbes that populates the vagina with premature birth.
APR 09, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
APR 09, 2020
4 Natural Antihistamines with No Side Effects
Over-the-counter antihistamine treatments are known to be effective for relieving allergic symptoms. However, they are also known to trigger side effects s
Loading Comments...