Assessment of fluid balance after neonatal cardiac surgery: a description of intake/output vs. weight-based methods

NEPHRON Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Fluid overload associates with poor outcomes after neonatal cardiac surgery, but consensus does not exist for the most clinically relevant method of measuring fluid balance (FB). While weight change-based FB (FB-W) is standard in neonatal intensive care units, weighing infants after cardiac surgery may be challenging. We aimed to identify characteristics associated with obtaining weights and to understand how intake/output-based FB (FB-IO) and FB-W compare in the early postoperative period in this population. Methods: Observational retrospective study of 2235 neonates undergoing cardiac surgery from 22 hospitals comprising the NEonatal and Pediatric Heart and Renal Outcomes Network (NEPHRON) database. Results: Forty-five percent (n = 998) of patients were weighed on postoperative day (POD) 2, varying from 2 to 98% among centers. Odds of being weighed were lower for STAT categories 4 and 5 (OR 0.72; 95% CI 0.53–0.98), cardiopulmonary bypass (0.59; 0.42–0.83), delayed sternal closure (0.27; 0.19–0.38), prophylactic peritoneal dialysis use (0.58; 0.34–0.99), and mechanical ventilation on POD 2 (0.23; 0.16–0.33). Correlation between FB-IO and FB-W was weak for every POD 1–6 and within the entire cohort (correlation coefficient 0.15; 95% CI 0.12–0.17). FB-W measured higher than paired FB-IO (mean bias 12.5%; 95% CI 11.6–13.4%) with wide 95% limits of agreement (− 15.4–40.4%). Conclusions: Weighing neonates early after cardiac surgery is uncommon, with significant practice variation among centers. Patients with increased severity of illness are less likely to be weighed. FB-W and FB-IO have weak correlation, and further study is needed to determine which cumulative FB metric most associates with adverse outcomes. Graphical abstract: A higher resolution version of the Graphical abstract is available as Supplementary information. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1355-1364
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Cardiac surgery
  • Fluid overload
  • Neonate
  • Weight


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