Aim To evaluate the experience of West Midlands Neonatal transport service (WMNTS) in managing cardiac transfers over the last six years and identify any emerging trends in managing these transfers.
Methods All babies transferred by WMNTS with “Cardiac” documented as primary reason for transport were identified from the electronic transport database. Data over a six year period from 1st January 2009 to 31st December 2014 was retrospectively reviewed. This excluded drive through PDA ligations. The referring unit, time of transfer, ventilation status and need for prostaglandin E1/E2 were determined.
Results A total of 438 transfers were conducted over the six year period. 67% of babies were on prostaglandin E1/E2 infusion at time of transfer. 13.2% needed mechanical ventilation and 2.1% needed NCPAP. 84.7% were self ventilating at time of transfer. Our results showed a trend where fewer babies were being moved within 24 h of birth from neonatal units over the last four years (Table 1).
Conclusion Cardiac transfers continue to form an important part of our service. In our experience, more babies are now being transported to regional cardiac centres after 48 h of life over the last 4 years in comparison to previous years. This may be because of extensive education and excellent support from regional tertiary Paediatric Cardiology services allowing neonatal units the confidence to manage these babies for longer periods of time. This enables transfer to take place in timely fashion, releasing beds for more time critical infants. Paediatricians and Neonatologists with an expertise in Cardiology also play a pivotal role in supporting their local neonatal units in managing these babies.