Glial fibrillary acidic protein as a biomarker for brain injury in neonatal CHD

Stephanie L. McKenney, Fahad F. Mansouri, Allen D. Everett, Ernest M. Graham, Irina Burd, Priya Sekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Neonates with critical CHD have evidence, by imaging, of preoperative brain injury, although the timing is unknown. We used circulating postnatal serum glial fibrillary acidic protein as a measure of acute perinatal brain injury in neonates with CHD. Glial fibrillary acidic protein was measured on admission and daily for the first 4 days of life in case and control groups; we included two control groups in this study - non-brain-injured newborns and brain-injured newborns. Comparisons were performed using the Kruskal-Wallis test with Dunn's multiple comparisons, Student's t-test, and χ2 test of independence where appropriate. In aggregate, there were no significant differences in overall glial fibrillary acidic protein levels between CHD patients (n=56) and negative controls (n=23) at any time point. By day 4 of life, 7/56 (12.5%) CHD versus 0/23 (0%) normal controls had detectable glial fibrillary acidic protein levels. Although not statistically significant, the 5/10 (50%) left heart obstruction group versus 1/17 (6%) conoventricular, 0/13 (0%) right heart, and 1/6 (17%) septal defect patients trended towards elevated levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein at day 4 of life. Overall, glial fibrillary acidic protein reflected no evidence for significant peripartum brain injury in neonates with CHD, but there was a trend for elevation by postnatal day 4 in neonates with left heart obstruction. This pilot study suggests that methods such as monitoring glial fibrillary acidic protein levels may provide new tools to optimise preoperative care and neuroprotection in high-risk neonates with specific types of CHD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1282-1289
Number of pages8
JournalCardiology in the young
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • CHD
  • Glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • neurological injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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