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October 1995

Malnutrition in Hospitalized Children With Congenital Heart Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction, The University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor (Dr Cameron), and the Divisions of Pediatric Cardiology (Dr Rosenthal) and Pediatric Gastroenterology (Dr Olson), University of Michigan Medical Center, C. S. Mott Children's Hospital, Ann Arbor.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(10):1098-1102. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170230052007

Objective:  To determine the prevalence of malnutrition among hospitalized children with congenital heart disease by age, disease process, and clinical status.

Design:  Cross-sectional, retrospective chart review.

Setting:  Pediatric cardiology units at a 150-bed tertiary care teaching hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Patients:  Patients (n=160) were randomly selected from consecutive admissions to the Pediatric Cardiology and Thoracic Surgery Services during a 1-year period.

Intervention:  None.

Main Outcome Measures:  Acute and chronic malnutrition, assessed by comparing the patients' weight and height with established means.

Results:  Acute and chronic malnutrition occurred in 33% and 64% of the patients, respectively. Age, diagnostic category, and symptoms were associated with malnutrition. Eighty percent of infants presented with acute malnutrition compared with 18% of patients of other ages (P<.001). Malnutrition affected 60% of patients with left-to-right shunts, 53% of patients with complex heart disease, and no patients with primary rhythm disturbances. Acute malnutrition affected 11% and chronic malnutrition affected 50% of patients with left-sided heart obstruction. Acute or chronic malnutrition occurred in 70% or more of patients with cyanosis and/or congestive heart failure but in only 30% of patients with neither (P<.001).

Conclusion:  Malnutrition in hospitalized children with congenital heart disease remains common, highlighting the importance of nutritional screening and intervention.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:1098-1102)

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