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Nutrition of neonates with congenital heart disease: existing evidence, conflicts and concerns

Journal title
The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine : the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians
Publication year
Tsintoni, A.; Dimitriou, G.; Karatza, A. A.

INTRODUCTION: Congenital heart disease is one of the most of the groups of congenital anomalies with an incidence of about 1 per 100 live births. Almost one-third of these infants require some type of intervention, usually in the first year of life and increasingly often in the neonatal period. Innovative reparative and palliative surgical procedures and advanced medical support in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit have significantly reduced the mortality related to congenital heart disease. Achieving survival is not the only target of clinicians for these patients. Appropriate growth, development, and improved quality of life are also very important. Growth failure is a very common problem of these children and nutritional support and management are a challenge for health care providers. Early intervention and identification of at-risk patients have the potential to decrease morbidity and mortality related to malnutrition. AIM/METHODS: The purpose of this article is to analyze the existing evidence and common concerns about perioperative and postdischarge nutritional management of neonates with congenital heart disease based on the special issues or complications that may arise. Furthermore, we reviewed the recent literature about current practices and proposed policies that could prevent malnutrition and improve the outcomes of neonates with congenital heart disease. RESULTS/CONCLUSION: A standardized institutional protocol and clear guidelines referring to feeding initiation, prompt estimation of caloric needs and provision of adequate and appropriate nutrient intake is likely to benefit these patients. Clear definitions for the nutritional approach in the setting of medical complications and close assessment of growth by pediatricians and specialized nutritionists are crucial for the long-term outlook and quality of life of these infants.

Research abstracts