Surgery for cardiac dysrhythmias is infrequently reported in infants and children as compared with adults. This report reviews 55 infants and small children (age, ≤5 years) operated on during the interval July 1, 1984 to December 31, 1991 for Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (41), atrioventricular node reentry (two), atrial automatic tachycardia (two), and ventricular tachycardia (nine). Ages ranged from 3 weeks to 71 (mean, 29) months. Associated congenital heart defects were present in five (10%). Indications for surgery included failure of medical therapy, life-threatening dysrhythmias, and more recently, failure of catheter ablation. There were no hospital or late deaths. One patient sustained perioperative central nervous system injury. Surgery was successful in 52 of 55 (94.5%) (Wolff-Parkinson- White, 38/41 (93%); atrioventricular node reentry, 2/2 (100%); atrial automatic tachycardia, 3/3 (100%); ventricular tachycardia, 9/9 (100%). Ventricular function returned to normal in all 12 patients in whom it was abnormal before operation. Thus, surgical ablation is highly successful in the management of various forms of refractory or life-threatening dysrhythmias in infants and small children. Catheter ablation techniques require significant fluoroscopic time, are more difficult in infants, and as yet do not have adequate long-term follow-up. Accordingly, surgery may continue to play a role in this particular group of patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas