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Congenit Heart Dis. 2014 Jan-Feb;9(1):15-25. doi: 10.1111/chd.12064. Epub 2013 Apr 22.

Perioperative nutritional support and malnutrition in infants and children with congenital heart disease.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology and Congenital Heart Surgery, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex, USA.



To assess the effect of nutritional status and cardiovascular risk on hospital outcomes after congenital heart surgery in infants and children.


Retrospective study.


Cardiac intensive care unit in a tertiary-care children's hospital.


One hundred twenty-one patients <24 months of age admitted to the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) for >48 hours following cardiac surgery.


Demographics, Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery-1 (RACHS-1), Paediatric Index of Mortality 2, and Pediatric Risk of Mortality III scores were obtained on admission. CVICU nutritional intake was calculated for 7 days. Energy and protein needs were estimated using recommended guidelines. Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery-1 was categorized as (1-3) or (4-6). Malnutrition was categorized by Waterlow criteria and correlated with mortality risk, days of mechanical ventilation, and hospital and CVICU length of stay.


Ninety-one patients who underwent cardiac surgery were categorized as RACHS-1 (1-3) and RACHS-1 scores of (4-6) (n = 30). Patients with RACHS-1 (4-6) had higher mortality risk by Pediatric Risk of Mortality III (4.9% vs. 2.6%, P < .01), longer CVICU (10.4 days vs. 4.8 days) and hospital stays (28 days vs.14 days), and more days of mechanical ventilation (4 days vs. 2 days) (all P < .005) than RACHS-1 (1-3). The prevalences of acute protein-energy malnutrition and chronic protein-energy malnutrition were 51.2% and 40.5%. The median hospital stay for mild, moderate, and severe chronic protein-energy malnutrition was 31, 10, and 22.5 days, respectively, vs. normal, 15 days (Kruskal-Wallis, P < .005). The average energy and protein requirements met on day 7 were 68 ± 27(SD)% and 68 ± 40%, respectively.


Although nearly half of the patients were malnourished at surgery, only two-thirds of their recommended caloric and protein requirements were provided by week 1. To improve hospital outcomes, care should be taken to optimize the nutritional condition of infants and children prior to and following surgical correction of congenital heart disease to improve hospital outcomes.

© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Cardiac; Congenital; Infant; Nutrition; Pediatric; Surgery

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