MicroRNAs as potential biomarkers in congenital heart surgery

Serban C Stoica, Dan M Dorobantu, Antonella Vardeu, Giovanni Biglino, Kerrie L Ford, Domenico V Bruno, Mustafa Zakkar, Andrew Mumford, Gianni D Angelini, Massimo Caputo, Costanza Emanueli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Pediatric congenital heart surgery (CHS)involves intracardiac, valvular, and vascular repairs. Accurate tools to aid short-term outcome prediction in pediatric CHS are lacking. Clinical scores, such as the vasoactive-inotrope score and ventilation index, are used to define outcome in clinical studies. MicroRNA-1-3p (miR-1)is expressed by both cardiomyocytes and vascular cells and is regulated by hypoxia. In adult patients, miR-1 increases in the circulation after open-heart cardiac surgery, suggesting its potential as a clinical biomarker. Thus, we investigated whether perioperative circulating miR-1 measurements can help predict post-CHS short-term outcomes in pediatric patients. 

Methods: Plasma miR-1 was retrospectively measured in a cohort of 199 consecutive pediatric CHS patients (median age 1.2 years). Samples were taken before surgery and at the end of the operation. Plasma miR-1 concentration was measured by reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction and expressed as miR-1 copies/μL and as relative expression to spiked-in exogenous cel-miR-39. 

Results: Baseline plasma miR-1 did not vary across different diagnoses, increased during surgery (204-fold median relative increase, P <.001), and was associated with aortic crossclamp duration postoperatively (P <.001). Importantly, miR-1 levels at the end of the operation positively correlated with intensive care stay (P <.001), early severe cardiovascular events (P =.01), and with high vasoactive-inotrope score (P =.001)and ventilation index (P <.001), suggesting that miR-1 could accelerate the identification of patients with cardiopulmonary bypass−related ischemic complications, requiring more intensive support.

Conclusions: Our study suggests miR-1 as a novel potential circulating biomarker to predict early postoperative outcome and inform clinical management in pediatric heart surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Early online date4 Apr 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2019

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research


  • biomarkers
  • congenital heart disease
  • microRNAs
  • outcome prediction
  • pediatric cardiac surgery


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