Fluid overload (FO) is common after neonatal congenital heart surgery and may contribute to mortality and morbidity. It is unclear if the effects of FO are independent of acute kidney injury (AKI). This was a retrospective cohort study which examined neonates (age < 30 days) who underwent cardiopulmonary bypass in a university-affiliated children’s hospital between 20 October 2010 and 31 December 2012. Demographic information, risk adjustment for congenital heart surgery score, surgery type, cardiopulmonary bypass time, cross-clamp time, and vasoactive inotrope score were recorded. FO [(fluid in–out)/pre-operative weight] and AKI defined by Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes serum creatinine criteria were calculated. Outcomes were all-cause, in-hospital mortality and median postoperative hospital and intensive care unit lengths of stay. Overall, 167 neonates underwent cardiac surgery using cardiopulmonary bypass in the study period, of whom 117 met the inclusion criteria. Of the 117 neonates included in the study, 76 (65%) patients developed significant FO (>10%), and 25 (21%) developed AKI ≥ Stage 2. When analyzed as FO cohorts (< 10%,10–20%, > 20% FO), patients with greater FO were more likely to have AKI (9.8 vs. 18.2 vs. 52.4%, respectively, with AKI ≥ stage 2; p = 0.013) and a higher vasoactive-inotrope score, and be premature. In the multivariable regression analyses of patients without AKI, FO was independently associated with hospital and intensive care unit lengths of stay [0.322 extra days (p = 0.029) and 0.468 extra days (p < 0.001), respectively, per 1% FO increase). In all patients, FO was also associated with mortality [odds ratio 1.058 (5.8% greater odds of mortality per 1% FO increase); 95% confidence interval 1.008,1.125;p = 0.032]. Fluid overload is an important independent contributor to outcomes in neonates following congenital heart surgery. Careful fluid management after cardiac surgery in neonates with and without AKI is warranted.
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