Clinical Focus

  • Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine

Academic Appointments

Professional Education

  • Fellowship:Children's Hospital Los Angeles Pediatric Residency (2012) CA
  • Board Certification: Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics (2007)
  • Medical Education:University of Missouri, ColumbiaMO
  • Board Certification: Pediatric Cardiology, American Board of Pediatrics (2012)
  • Board Certification: Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, American Board of Pediatrics (2012)
  • Fellowship:LAC and USC Medical Center (2010) CA
  • Residency:Johns Hopkins Childrens Center (2007) MD
  • Internship:Johns Hopkins Childrens Center (2005) MD

All Publications

  • Targeted neonatal echocardiography in the United States of America: the contemporary perspective and challenges to implementation. Letter to the Editor. Pediatric research Giesinger, R., Stanford, A., Rios, D., Bhombal, S., Fraga, M., Levy, V., McNamara, P., United States Hemodynamics Collaborative 2019

    View details for PubMedID 30776791

  • Death or resolution: the "natural history" of pulmonary hypertension in bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Journal of perinatology : official journal of the California Perinatal Association Altit, G., Bhombal, S., Hopper, R. K., Tacy, T. A., Feinstein, J. 2019


    OBJECTIVES: The primary objective was to describe the early "natural history" of pulmonary hypertension (PH) in the premature population. The secondary objective was to describe factors associated with poor outcomes in the premature population with PH at 36 weeks post-menstrual age (PMA).STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review of patients followed at our institution from 2000 to 2017 with echocardiographic (ECHO) evidence of PH at 36 weeks PMA, and born≤32 weeks estimated gestational age (GA). Cox regression was used for survival analysis.RESULTS: Sixty-one patients with PH (26.5±1.5 weeks at birth) were included. All PH patients had bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), with 89% considered severe; 38% were small for gestational age. Necrotizing enterocolitis requiring surgery was common (25%). Use of post-natal steroids (HR 11.02, p=0.01) and increased severity of PH (HR 1.05, p<0.001) were associated with mortality. Pulmonary vein stenosis (PVS) was documented in 26% of the PH cohort, but not associated with increased mortality. ECHO estimation of pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) was available in 84%. PAP was higher in those who died (sPAP/sBP ratio 1.09±27 vs 0.83±20 %, p=0.0002). At follow-up (mean 250±186 weeks PMA), 72% of the PH cohort was alive. Most survivors (66%) had resolution of their PH on their most recent ECHO; 31% remained on PH therapy.CONCLUSION: PH resolved in most survivors in this study population. Mortality in those with BPD-PH was associated with male sex, post-natal steroid use, and increased severity of PH, but not with PVS.

    View details for PubMedID 30617286

  • PDA: To treat or not to treat. Congenital heart disease Sankar, M. N., Bhombal, S., Benitz, W. E. 2019; 14 (1): 46–51


    Management of patent ductus arteriosus in extremely preterm infants remains a topic of debate. Treatment to produce ductal closure was widely practiced until the past decade, despite lack of evidence that it decreases morbidities or mortality. Meta-analyses of trials using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have shown effectiveness in accelerating ductal closure, but no reduction in neonatal morbidities, regardless of agent used, indication, timing, gestational age, or route of administration. Surgical ligation closes the ductus but is associated with adverse effects. Recent experience with conservative approaches to treatment suggest improved neonatal outcomes and a high rate of spontaneous ductal closure after discharge. Careful postdischarge follow-up is important, however, because potential adverse effects of long-standing aortopulmonary shunts may be an indication for catheter-based ductal closure. Identification of extremely preterm infants at greatest risk of potential harm from a persistently patent ductus, who may benefit most from treatment are urgently needed.

    View details for PubMedID 30811796

  • Immediate Postnatal Ventricular Performance Is Associated with Mortality in Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Pediatric cardiology Altit, G., Bhombal, S., Chock, V. Y., Tacy, T. A. 2018


    Right ventricular (RV) function as assessed by deformation has been evaluated prenatally and after palliation in hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). However, limited data exist about the immediate postnatal cardiac adaptation and RV function in HLHS. We compared echocardiographic measures of cardiac performance in HLHS versus controls in their first week of life. As a secondary objective, we evaluated if markers at the first echocardiogram were associated with mid- and long-term outcomes. Clinical and echocardiographic data of patients with HLHS between 2013 and 2016 were reviewed. The study population was matched with controls whose echocardiograms were obtained due to murmur or rule out coarctation. Speckle-tracking echocardiography was used to assess deformation. Thirty-four patients with HLHS and 28 controls were analyzed. Age at echocardiogram was similar between HLHS and controls. The RV of HLHS was compared to both RV and left ventricle (LV) of controls. HLHS deformation parameters [RV peak global longitudinal strain (GLS), global longitudinal strain rate (GLSR)] and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) were decreased compared to RV of controls. The LV-fractional area change, peak GLS, GLSR, circumferential strain, and strain rate of controls were higher than the RV of HLHS. Calculated cardiac output (CO) was higher in the HLHS group (592 vs. 183mL/kg/min, p=0.0001) but similar to the combined LV and RV output of controls. Later mortality or cardiac transplantation was associated with the RV CO and RV stroke distance at initial echocardiogram. Cox proportional hazard regression determined that restriction at atrial septum, decreased initial RV stroke distance and decreased TAPSE had a higher risk of death or cardiac transplantation. TAPSE and RV stroke distance by velocity time integral had adequate inter-reader variability by Bland-Altman plot and Pearson's correlation. Our study found that the HLHS RV deformation is decreased in the early postnatal period when compared to both LV and RV of controls, but deformation was not associated with mid- and long-term outcomes. Later mortality or cardiac transplantation was associated with decreased initial stroke distance and cardiac output. Early evaluation of patients with HLHS should include an assessment of stroke distance and future research should evaluate its implication in management strategies.

    View details for PubMedID 30178190

  • Diminished Cardiac Performance and Left Ventricular Dimensions in Neonates with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY Altit, G., Bhombal, S., Van Meurs, K., Tacy, T. A. 2018; 39 (5): 993–1000


    Newborns with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) have varying degrees of pulmonary hypoplasia and pulmonary hypertension (PH), and there is limited evidence that cardiac dysfunction is present. We sought to study early neonatal biventricular function and performance in these patients by reviewing early post-natal echocardiography (ECHO) measurements and comparing them to normal term newborns.Retrospective case-control study reviewing clinical and ECHO data on term newborns with CDH and normal controls born between 2009 and 2016. Patients were excluded if major anomalies, genetic syndromes, or no ECHO available. PH was assessed by ductal shunting and tricuspid regurgitant jet velocity. Speckle-tracking echocardiography was used to assess myocardial deformation using velocity vector imaging.Forty-four patients with CDH and 18 age-matched controls were analyzed. Pulmonary pressures were significantly higher in the CDH cohort (systolic pulmonary arterial pressure to systolic blood pressure of 103 ± 13 vs. 78 ± 29%, p = 0.0001). CDH patients had decreased RV fractional area change (FAC - 28.6 ± 11.1 vs. 36.2 ± 9.6%, p = 0.02), tricuspid annular plane of systolic excursion (TAPSE-5.6 ± 1.6 vs. 8.6 ± 1.6 mm, p = 0.0001), and RV outflow tract stroke distance (8.6 ± 2.7 vs. 14.0 ± 4.5 cm, p = 0.0001) compared with controls. The left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction was similar in both groups, but CDH patients had a decreased LV end-diastolic volume by Simpson's rule (2.7 ± 1.0 vs. 5.0 ± 1.8 mL, p = 0.0001) and LVOT stroke distance (9.7 ± 3.4 vs. 12.6 ± 3.6 cm, p = 0.004). Biventricular global longitudinal strain (GLS) was markedly decreased in the CDH population compared to controls (RV-GLS: - 9.0 ± 5.3 vs. - 19.5 ± 1.4%, p = 0.0001; LV GLS: - 13.2 ± 5.8 vs. - 20.8 ± 3.5%, p = 0.0001).CDH newborns have evidence of biventricular dysfunction and decreased cardiac output. Abnormal function may be a factor in the non-response to pulmonary arterial vasodilators in CDH patients. A two-pronged management strategy aimed at improving cardiac function, as well as reducing pulmonary artery pressure in CDH newborns, may be warranted.

    View details for PubMedID 29523920

  • End-Organ Saturation Differences in Early Neonatal Transition for Left-versus Right-Sided Congenital Heart Disease NEONATOLOGY Altit, G., Bhombal, S., Tacy, T. A., Chock, V. Y. 2018; 114 (1): 53–61


    For neonates with congenital heart disease (CHD), left-sided (LL) and right-sided (RL) single ventricular physiologies (LL, hypoplastic left heart syndrome; RL, tricuspid atresia or pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum) may demonstrate distinct changes in tissue saturation in the first 72 h of life. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) can measure regional cerebral saturation (Csat) and renal saturation (Rsat) to clarify differences between LL and RL over time.Our primary objective was to measure changes in Csat and Rsat in the first 72 h of life using NIRS between CHD infants with LL compared to RL. The secondary objective was to correlate NIRS values to an echocardiographic marker of perfusion.Newborns with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, tricuspid atresia, and pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum from 2013 to 2016 underwent routine NIRS monitoring. Csat, Rsat, and systemic saturations (SpO2) in the first 72 h of life were retrospectively analyzed and the echocardiographic descending aorta velocity time integral (VTI) was measured. Mixed effects models compared differences over time between LL and RL.The final cohort included 13 LL, 12 RL, and 4 controls. Csat decreased for RL compared to LL (p = 0.005), while Rsat decreased for both (p = 0.008). Over time, SpO2 increased for LL but decreased for RL (p = 0.046). Compared to the controls, infants with CHD had lower Csat, lower Rsat, and lower SpO2. The descending aorta VTI was correlated with Rsat (R2 = 0.24, p = 0.02).NIRS Csat measures were better preserved in LL compared to RL. Rsat decreased in both groups through time. The correlation between the descending aorta VTI and Rsat suggests an association between NIRS measures of renal saturation and renal perfusion.

    View details for PubMedID 29649824

  • Ventricular Performance is Associated with Need for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Newborns with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. The Journal of pediatrics Altit, G., Bhombal, S., Van Meurs, K., Tacy, T. A. 2017


    OBJECTIVE: To compare echocardiography (ECHO) findings of patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) who required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to non-ECMO treated patients.STUDY DESIGN: We reviewed clinical and ECHO data of newborns with CDH born between 2009 and 2016. Exclusions included major anomalies, genetic syndromes, or no ECHO prior to ECMO. Pulmonary hypertension was assessed by ductal shunting and tricuspid regurgitant jet. Speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) assessed function by quantifying deformation.RESULTS: Patients with CDH (15 ECMO and 29 with no ECMO) were analyzed. Most patients had a left CDH (88.6%). Age at ECHO was similar between groups. Outborn status (P=.009) and liver position (P=.009) were associated with need for ECMO. Compared with non-ECMO patients, patients who required ECMO had significantly decreased left and right ventricular function by both conventional and STE measures, as well as decreased right and left ventricular output. The right ventricular eccentricity index was higher in ECMO vs non-ECMO patients (2.2 vs 1.8, P=.02). There was no difference in pulmonary hypertension between CDH groups.CONCLUSIONS: Need for ECMO was associated with decreased left and right ventricular function, as assessed by standard and STE measures. There was no difference in pulmonary hypertension between non ECMO and ECMO patients. Abnormal cardiac function may explain nonresponse to pulmonary vasodilators in patients with CDH. Management strategies to improve cardiac function may reduce the need for ECMO in newborns with CDH.

    View details for PubMedID 29037794

  • The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for patent ductus arteriosus closure in preterm infants SEMINARS IN FETAL & NEONATAL MEDICINE Benitz, W. E., Bhombal, S. 2017; 22 (5): 302–7


    Over the last four decades, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been widely used to induce closure of the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in preterm infants. Evidence to support this practice is lacking, despite performance of >50 randomized trials. The credibility of those trials may have been compromised by high rates of open treatment in controls, era of study prior to advent of modern practices, or inclusion of insufficient numbers of very immature infants. Meta-analyses show little impact of those factors on main conclusions. Essentially all trials reporting important long-term outcomes (other than mortality) initiated treatment within five days after birth, so no evidence regarding later treatment is available. Accruing clinical experience suggests that long-term outcomes are not compromised, and may be improved, with non-interventional management strategies. Future studies to identify preterm infants at greatest risk of potential harm from a persistent PDA, particularly after the second postnatal week, are urgently needed.

    View details for PubMedID 28724506

  • Prophylactic Indomethacin-Is It Time to Reconsider? JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS Bhombal, S., Benitz, W. E. 2017; 187: 8–10

    View details for PubMedID 28552451

  • Practices surrounding pulmonary hypertension and bronchopulmonary dysplasia amongst neonatologists caring for premature infants. Journal of perinatology : official journal of the California Perinatal Association Altit, G., Lee, H. C., Hintz, S., Tacy, T. A., Feinstein, J. A., Bhombal, S. 2017


    Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is associated with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Screening strategies, a thorough investigation of co-morbidities, and multidisciplinary involvement prior to anti-PH medications have been advocated by recent guidelines. We sought to evaluate current practices of neonatologists caring for premature infants with PH.Electronic survey of American Academy of Pediatrics neonatology members.Among 306 neonatologist respondents, 38% had an institutional screening protocol for patients with BPD; 83% screened at 36 weeks for premature neonates on oxygen/mechanical ventilation. In those practicing more than 5 years, 54% noted increasing numbers of premature infants diagnosed with PH. Evaluation for PH in BPD patients included evaluations for micro-aspiration (41%), airways anomalies (29%), and catheterization (10%). Some degree of acquired pulmonary vein stenosis was encountered in 47%. A majority (90%) utilized anti-PH medications during the neonatal hospitalization.Screening for PH in BPD, and subsequent evaluation and management is highly variable.

    View details for PubMedID 29234146