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Malnutrition in Hospitalized Children With Congenital Heart Disease

Judith Wynn Cameron, RN, PhD, CPNP; Amnon Rosenthal, MD; Allan David Olson, MD, MS
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(10):1098-1102. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170230052007.
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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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