A Cross-Sectional Survey of Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Use in Pediatric Cardiac ICUs in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, and Germany

Aparna U. Hoskote, Lyvonne N. Tume, Uwe Trieschmann, Christoph Menzel, Paola Cogo, Katherine L. Brown, Michael W. Broadhead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Despite the increasing use of near-infrared spectroscopy across pediatric cardiac ICUs, there is significant variability and equipoise with no universally accepted management algorithms. We aimed to explore the use of near-infrared spectroscopy in pediatric cardiac ICUs in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, and Germany. Design: A cross-sectional multicenter, multinational electronic survey of one consultant in each pediatric cardiac ICU. Setting: Pediatric cardiac ICUs in the United Kingdom and Ireland (n = 13), Italy (n = 12), and Germany (n = 33). Interventions: Questionnaire targeted to establish use, targets, protocols/thresholds for intervention, and perceived usefulness of near-infrared spectroscopy monitoring. Results: Overall, 42 of 58 pediatric cardiac ICUs (72%) responded: United Kingdom and Ireland, 11 of 13 (84.6%); Italy, 12 of 12 (100%); and Germany, 19 of 33 (57%, included all major centers). Near-infrared spectroscopy usage varied with 35% (15/42) reporting that near-infrared spectroscopy was not used at all (7/42) or occasionally (8/42); near-infrared spectroscopy use was much less common in the United Kingdom (46%) when compared with 78% in Germany and all (100%) in Italy. Only four units had a near-infrared spectroscopy protocol, and 18 specifically used near-infrared spectroscopy in high-risk patients; 37 respondents believed that near-infrared spectroscopy added value to standard monitoring and 23 believed that it gave an earlier indication of deterioration, but only 19 would respond based on near-infrared spectroscopy data alone. Targets for absolute values and critical thresholds for intervention varied widely between units. The reasons cited for not or occasionally using near-infrared spectroscopy were expense (n = 6), limited evidence and uncertainty on how it guides management (n = 4), difficulty in interpretation, and unreliability of data (n = 3). Amongst the regular or occasional near-infrared spectroscopy users (n = 35), 28 (66%) agreed that a multicenter study is warranted to ascertain its use. Conclusions: Although most responding units used near-infrared spectroscopy for high-risk patients, the majority (31/35 [88%]) did not have any protocols or guidelines for intervention. Target thresholds and intervention algorithms are needed to support the use of near-infrared spectroscopy in pediatric cardiac ICUs; an international multicenter study is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016



  • brain monitoring
  • cerebral oximeter
  • cerebral saturation
  • pediatric cardiac surgery
  • regional oxygen saturation
  • tissue oxygenation index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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