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Postpericardiotomy syndrome (PPS), a potential complication of open heart surgery, has a variable clinical course and severity. This study evaluated the effectiveness of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) prophylaxis in preventing PPS after surgical closure of atrial septal defects (ASDs) in pediatric patients. A retrospective review was performed for 177 patients who underwent uncomplicated ASD closure from 1986 to 2006. The study group received prophylactic ASA 20 to 50 mg/kg/day for 1 to 6 weeks after surgery, whereas the control group did not. The primary outcome was a diagnosis of PPS based on the presence of two or more of the following symptoms or signs occurring at least 72 h postoperatively: fever (temperature >38°C), pericardial or pleural rub, and worsening or recurring anterior pleuritic chest pain. Consequently, PPS developed in 5 (2.8%) of the 177 children: 2.8% (3/106) in the control group and 2.8% (2/71) in the study group (p = 1.00). The secondary outcomes were frequency of other postoperative complications. Postoperative pericardial effusions experienced by 26.7% of the patients were identified more frequently in the treatment group (p < 0.001). Postoperative prophylaxis ASA at a dose of 20 to 50 mg/kg/day for 1 to 6 weeks after surgical closure of ASD does not decrease the incidence of PPS in pediatric patients. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009.

Original publication




Journal article


Pediatric Cardiology

Publication Date





1061 - 1067