Failure to thrive is common in children with non-restrictive ventricular septal defect (VSD). Normalisation of growth has been reported after early surgical correction. However the literature is inconsistent about growth velocity after surgery in term and preterm infants.
Objective Establishing the pattern of catch-up growth in infants submitted to VSD surgical repair before 1 year of age, for term and preterm infants.
Methods 52 infants (41 term, 11 preterm) were studied. Anthropometric data at birth, at time of surgery and 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after surgery, collected retrospectively, were converted to z-scores. Statistic analyses was performed in SPSS® version 21, α=0,05.
Results Mean weight and height z scores at the time of surgery were significantly lower for term infants (-2,24 and -1,42, respectively; p < 0,001) and preterm infants (-3,07 and -2,22; p = 0,003). A higher growth velocity was observed in the first three months after surgery. For term infants, catch-up growth was completed 6 months after surgery (mean weight and height z scores were -0,39 and -0,7, respectively). Preterm infants completed their catch up growth one year after surgery. There were no statistically significant differences in mean weight and height between term and preterm infants 24 month after surgery.
Conclusions Early surgical repair of VSD leads to a significant acceleration of growth, mainly in the first 3–6 months after surgery. An increased weight gain velocity has been associated with higher cardiovascular risk later in life. Knowledge of this specific catch-up growth pattern is important and should influence nutritional goals after surgery.