Telemedicine in pediatric cardiac critical care.Telemed J E Health 2012; 18(2):132-6TJ
To describe our international telemedicine experience in pediatric cardiac critical care.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
This is a case series of pediatric patients teleassisted from the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, to the CICU at Hospital Valle del Lili, Cali, Valle, Colombia, between March and December 2010. An attending intensivist from the CICU in Pittsburgh reviewed cases, monitored real-time vital signs, and gave formal medical advice as requested by the attending physician in Cali. The network connection is a Cisco (San Jose, CA)-based Secure Sockets Layer virtual private network via the Internet that allows access to the web-based interface of the Dräger(®) (Lübeck, Germany) physiological monitor system. The videoconferencing equipment consists of a standard component on a custom-made mobile cart that uses an APC(®) (West Kingston, RI) uninterruptible power supply for portable power and 3Com(®) (Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, CA) for wireless connectivity. A post-intervention survey regarding satisfaction with the telemedicine service was conducted.
Seventy-one recommendations were given regarding 53 patients. Median age and weight were 10 months and 7.1 kg, respectively. Ventricular septal defect, transposition of the great vessels, and single ventricle accounted for most cases. The most frequent recommendations were related to surgical conduct, management of arrhythmias, and performance of cardiac catheterization studies. No technical difficulties were experienced during the monitoring of the patients. Satisfaction rates were equally high for technical and medical aspects of telemedicine service.
Telemedicine is a feasible option for pediatric intensivists seeking experienced assistance in the management of complex cardiac patients. Real-time remote assistance may improve the medical care of pediatric cardiac patients treated in developing countries.