Most High-Intensity Transient Signals Are Not Associated With Specific Surgical Maneuvers

Max H. Twedt, Benjamin D. Hage, James M. Hammel, Ali N. Ibrahimye, Mohanad Shukry, Ahsan Qadeer, Kent M. Eskridge, Edward J. Truemper, Gregory R. Bashford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Mortality after congenital heart defect surgery has dropped dramatically in the last few decades. Current research on long-term outcomes has focused on preventing secondary neurological sequelae, for which embolic burden is suspected. In children, little is known of the correlation between specific surgical maneuvers and embolic burden. Transcranial Doppler ultrasound is highly useful for detecting emboli but has not been widely used with infants and children. Methods: Bilateral middle cerebral artery blood flow was continuously monitored from sternal incision to chest closure in 20 infants undergoing congenital heart defect repair or palliative surgery. Embolus counts for specific maneuvers were recorded using widely accepted criteria for identifying emboli via high-intensity transient signals (HITS). Results: An average of only 13% of all HITS detected during an operation were correlated with any of the surgical maneuvers of interest. The highest mean number of HITS associated with a specific maneuver occurred during cross-clamp removal. Cross-clamp placement also had elevated HITS counts that significantly differed from other maneuvers. Conclusions: In this study of infants undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass, the great majority of HITS detected are not definitively associated with a specific subset of surgical maneuvers. Among the measured maneuvers, removal of the aortic cross-clamp was associated with the greatest occurrence of HITS. Future recommended research efforts include identifying and confirming other sources for emboli and longitudinal outcome studies to determine if limiting embolic burden affects long-term neurological outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-408
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB)
  • cerebral perfusion
  • cerebral protection
  • congenital heart disease (CHD)
  • congenital heart surgery
  • embolism
  • perioperative care
  • ultrasound (all applications)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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