Introduction A feeding disorder in infancy and during childhood is a complex condition involving different symptoms such as food refusal and faddiness, both leading to a decreased food intake. It often results from abnormal feeding development. Also, adequate nutrition is crucial and challenge in children after surgery for congenital heart disease. There is a worldwide reason for attention to lesion or specific feeding problems, supplementation of trace elements and minerals, and an organized approach to pace, timing, and type of feeding are beneficial.
Aim Of presentation is assessing the prevalence and predictors factors of feedings difficulties in children who underwent cardiac open heart surgery in neonatal period and infancy. We address selected nutritional and caloric requirements for children after cardiac surgery and explore nutritional interdependence with other system functions.
Method This was a retrospective study in a tertiary referral hospital, and prior approval from the institutional ethics committee was obtained. Information for 78 children (42 male and 36 female) was taken from patients charts. The presence of feeding difficulties or disorders was assessed by a questionnaire when the child was 3 years old. As a feeding disorder was defined as an inadequate food intake for age, failure of thrive or for few cases need for tube feeding. Data were analysed with descriptive statistics and logistic regression.
Results From cohort of analysed children feeding problems occurred in 23%. At the time of study, refusal to eat or poor appetite was reported as a significant problem in 19 children and subnormal height and/or weight were recorded in 11 children. Early neonatal intervention and reoperation were identified as a risk factors for latter feeding difficulties or inadequate intake. Children with feeding problems also tended to eat less than children without feeding problems. There was a trend towards more feeding problems in patients with chromosomal abnormalities or other associated anomalies.
Conclusion Feeding disorder is often and frequent long-term sequel in children after neonatal or early infancy heart surgery. Patients with chromosomal and associated anomalies and those who underwent multiple cardiac surgeries are at risk of developing feeding difficulties and later feeding disorders. These patients need to be selected for preventive strategies and nutritional intervention should be offered in order to increase the caloric intake of the child and to develop a sound feeding relationship in the family.
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