While outcomes for neonates with congenital heart disease have improved, it is apparent that substantial variability exists among centers with regard to the multidisciplinary approach to care for this medically fragile patient population. We endeavored to understand the landscape of neonatal cardiac care in the United States. A survey was distributed to physicians who provide neonatal cardiac care in the United States regarding (1) collaborative efforts in care of neonates with congenital heart disease (CHD); (2) access to neonatal cardiac training; and (3) barriers to the implementation of protocols for neonatal cardiac care. Responses were collected from 10/2018 to 6/2019. We received responses from 172 of 608 physicians (28% response rate) from 89 centers. When compared to responses received from physicians at low-volume centers (< 300 annual bypass cases), those at high-volume centers reported more involvement from the neurodevelopmental teams (58% vs. 29%; P = 0.012) and a standardized transition to outpatient care (68% vs. 52%; P = 0.038). While a majority of cardiothoracic surgery and anesthesiology respondents reported multidisciplinary involvement, less than half of cardiology and neonatology supported this statement. The most commonly reported obstacles to multidisciplinary engagement were culture (61.6%) and logistics (47.1%). Having a standardized neonatal cardiac curriculum for neonatal fellows was positively associated with the perception that multidisciplinary collaboration was “always” in place (53% vs. 40%; P = 0.09). There is considerable variation among centers in regard to personnel involved in neonatal cardiac care, related education, and perceived multidisciplinary collaboration among team members. The survey findings suggest the need to establish concrete standards for neonatal cardiac surgical programs, with ongoing quality improvement processes.
- Neonatal cardiac care