To outline the etiology, clinical course, short-term survival to discharge and neurological outcome of infants (MethodsRetrospective search of a computerized database and medical case notes for all acute cardiac admissions to PICU from June 2001 to 2006. Pre-existing hospital-based patients with new cardiac diagnoses were excluded.ResultsSeventy patients were identified, 38 (54%) of whom were male. There were six main subgroups: obstructive left heart lesions (n= 20), transposition of the great arteries (TGA) (n= 9), total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage (TAPVD) (n= 7), dilated cardiomyopathy (n= 11), arrhythmia (n= 12), and others (n= 11). Fifty-nine patients (84%) were external referrals to our center. The median age at presentation was 13.5 days (0-272) with median duration of symptoms of 1 day (0-21). The median base deficit at presentation was -7.6 mEq/L (-43 to +4.2). Fifty-three patients (76%) required respiratory support with a median duration of ventilation of 4 days (1-49). Fifty-six patients (80%) required inotropic support. The median PICU stay was 7 days (1-64) with a median total hospital stay of 16 days (1-71). Six patients (9%) died prior to discharge. Of the survivors 7 (11%) had seizure activity or evolving clinical neurological abnormalities.ConclusionsCardiovascular compromise due to previously unrecognized congenital or acquired heart disease is associated with clinically significant morbidity and mortality. Longer term follow-up is required to evaluate the initial effect of poor cardiac output and hypoxia on long-term neurodevelopmental outcome.