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Infants undergoing stage 1 palliation for hypoplastic left heart syndrome may have post-operative feeding difficulties. Although the cause of feeding difficulties in these patients is multi-factorial, residual arch obstruction may affect gut perfusion, contributing to feeding intolerance. We hypothesised that undergoing arch reintervention following stage 1 palliation would be associated with post-operative feeding difficulties.
This was a retrospective cohort study. We analysed data from the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative, which maintains a multicentre registry for infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome discharged home following stage 1 palliation. Patients who underwent arch reintervention (percutaneous or surgical) prior to discharge following stage 1 palliation were compared with those who underwent non-aortic arch interventions after stage 1 palliation and those who underwent no intervention. Median post-operative days to full enteral feeds and weight for age z-scores were compared. Predictors of post-operative days to full feeds were identified.
Among patients who underwent arch reintervention, post-operative days to full enteral feeds were greater than for those who underwent non-aortic arch interventions (25 versus 16, p = 0.003) or no intervention (median days 25 versus 12, p < 0.001). Arch intervention, multiple interventions, gestational age, and the presence of a gastrointestinal anomaly were predictors of days to full feeds.
Repeat arch intervention is associated with a longer time to achieve full enteral feeding in patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome after stage 1 palliation. Further investigation of this association is needed to understand the role of arch obstruction in feeding problems in these patients.
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