Pediatr Cardiol. 2022 Feb 22:1-5. doi: 10.1007/s00246-022-02835-x. Online ahead of print.
Pediatric single ventricle patients have seen dramatic improvements in overall outcomes over the past several decades. This is attributed to the development of home monitoring programs for interstage patients. In today’s current COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telemedicine has allowed providers to care for these patients and support their families effectively while minimizing the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Our single-center study reviewed the charts of nine patients followed by our single ventricle team through the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients discharged from the hospital and enrolled in our digital home monitoring program were included. Records were retrospectively reviewed for total number of outpatient visits, adverse events, unplanned hospital readmissions, and unplanned procedures. These results were then compared to outcomes from 2018 to 2019. In-person visits averaged every 6 weeks compared to every 2-3-week pre-pandemic. Zero adverse events reported with the use of telemedicine compared to one adverse event pre-pandemic. There was a 50% decrease in unplanned readmissions and 60% decrease in unplanned procedures during our study period. One patient was diagnosed with acute COVID-19 infection and managed conservatively via telemedicine with full recovery. To our knowledge, this is the only case-control study reporting the use of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic in the interstage population. Although not statistically significant, we report a decrease in total adverse events, unplanned procedures, and unplanned admissions. Telemedicine visits allowed for identification of issues requiring hospital readmission as well as conservative management of one patient with COVID-19.