Assessing the association between pre-operative feeding and the development of oral feeding skills in infants with single ventricle heart disease: An analysis of the NPC-QIC dataset


Advocate Children's Hospital


Pre-operative feeding may improve long-term feeding outcomes in single ventricle patients, including weaning from supplemental tube feedings in infancy. This study examines the association between pre-operative enteral feeding and subsequent long-term feeding outcomes while also assessing the counterbalancing risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Secondary analysis of the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative database was performed. The association between pre-operative feeding practice and achieving all oral feeds through the first year of life was examined using a multivariable regression model. Similarly, the association between pre-operative oral feeding and NEC was also assessed. Of 944 patients with 1-year feeding outcomes available, 58% were fed preoperatively (41.3% exclusively oral) and 12.3% were not fed per institutional approach. At hospital discharge after Stage 1 palliation, 57% required a feeding tube, while 39% required a feeding tube at their first birthday. In infants who were orally fed, the odds ratio to achieving tube-free feeding at 1 year was not significantly increased (1.3, confidence interval 0.8-2.0). Of 1740 infants with pre-operative feeding and Stage 1 there was no statistically significant difference in NEC among patients who were preoperatively fed versus those that were not fed per institutional approach (p = 0.2). Pre-operative feeding of infants with single ventricle heart disease was not associated with early achievement of tube-free feeding in the first year of life. However, pre-operative oral feeding was also not associated with increased risk of NEC, suggesting that it can be safely offered among appropriate patients.

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