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Microcirculatory Changes in Pediatric Patients During Congenital Heart Defect Corrective Surgery


A prospective, observational single-center study was carried out. Pediatric patients undergoing congenital heart defect surgery were evaluated before, during, and after surgery. At each time point, sublingual microcirculation and clinical parameters were assessed, along with analytical variables. Twenty-four patients were included. All microcirculatory parameters worsened during cardiopulmonary bypass and returned to baseline values after surgery (p ≤ 0.001). In the intraoperative evaluation, body temperature correlated with perfused small vessel density (p = 0.014), proportion of perfused small vessels (p < 0.001), small vessel microvascular flow index (p = 0.003), and small vessel heterogeneity index (p < 0.002). Patients with cyanotic disease exhibited higher small vessel density (p < 0.008) and higher density of perfused small vessels (p < 0.022) at baseline, and a lower microvascular flow index (p = 0.022) and higher heterogeneity (p = 0.026) in the intraoperative phase. Children with congenital heart disease exhibited decreased vascular density and microvascular blood flow and increased heterogeneity during cardiopulmonary bypass. All these parameters returned to baseline values after surgery.

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Fig. 1
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Fig. 3



Congenital heart defects


95% confidence interval


De Backer score

FiO2 :

Fraction of inspired oxygen


Heterogeneity index


Interquartile range


Microcirculatory flow index


Near infrared photospectrometry


Positive end expiratory pressure


Pediatric intensive care unit


Peak inspiratory pressure


Proportion of perfused vessels


Perfused vessel density


Sidestream dark-field imaging


Small vessels


Total vessel density


Vasoactive inotropic score


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The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution to the study of all members of the infant heart area of Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital. The authors would like to specially acknowledge the patients and their families who decided to collaborate with our study.


This study was partially funded by the Mutua Madrileña Foundation (grant FMM 14/02), by the Spanish Society of Paediatric Intensive Care (Francisco Ruza’s grant 2017), and by the Carlos III Health Institute Subdirectorate General for Research Assessment and Promotion, and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (grant PI17/01319).

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Correspondence to Rafael González Cortés.

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Human Subjects/Informed Consent Statement

The study was approved by Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital Institutional Review Board. All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients or their legal representatives for being included in the study

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Associate Editor Junjie Xiao oversaw the review of this article

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González Cortés, R., Urbano Villaescusa, J., Solana García, M.J. et al. Microcirculatory Changes in Pediatric Patients During Congenital Heart Defect Corrective Surgery. J. of Cardiovasc. Trans. Res. (2021).

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  • Microcirculation
  • Heart surgery
  • Cardiopulmonary bypass
  • Children