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Background—Our previous randomized, clinical trial showed that postoperative tight glycemic control (TGC) for children undergoing cardiac surgery did not reduce the rate of health care–associated infections compared with standard care (STD). Heterogeneity of treatment effect may exist within this population.

Methods and Results—We performed a post hoc exploratory analysis of 980 children from birth to 36 months of age at the time of cardiac surgery who were randomized to postoperative TGC or STD in the intensive care unit. Significant interactions were observed between treatment group and both neonate (age ≤30 days; P=0.03) and intraoperative glucocorticoid exposure (P=0.03) on the risk of infection. The rate and incidence of infections in subjects ≤60 days old were significantly increased in the TGC compared with the STD group (rate: 13.5 versus 3.7 infections per 1000 cardiac intensive care unit days, P=0.01; incidence: 13% versus 4%, P=0.02), whereas infections among those >60 days of age were significantly reduced in the TGC compared with the STD group (rate: 5.0 versus 14.1 infections per 1000 cardiac intensive care unit days, P=0.02; incidence: 2% versus 5%, P=0.03); the interaction of treatment group by age subgroup was highly significant (P=0.001). Multivariable logistic regression controlling for the main effects revealed that previous cardiac surgery, chromosomal anomaly, and delayed sternal closure were independently associated with increased risk of infection.

Conclusions—This exploratory analysis demonstrated that TGC may lower the risk of infection in children >60 days of age at the time of cardiac surgery compared with children receiving STD. Meta-analyses of past and ongoing clinical trials are necessary to confirm these findings before clinical practice is altered.

Copyright/Permission Statement

From Circulation, Agus MS, Asaro LA, Steil GM, Alexander JL, Silverman M, Wypij D, Gaies MG; SPECS Investigators, Tight Glycemic Control After Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in High-Risk Patient Populations, Volume 129(22): 2297–2304. Copyright © 2014 Massachusetts Medical Society. Reprinted with permission.


blood glucose, critical care, heart diseases, hyperglycemia, pediatrics



Date Posted: 01 June 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.