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Infants with CHD requiring positive pressure ventilation via tracheostomy are especially vulnerable to malnutrition following cardiac surgery. Current post-operative feeding recommendations may overestimate the caloric needs.
We retrospectively studied infants requiring tracheostomy after cardiac surgery. Anthropometric and nutritional data were collected, including caloric goals, weight-for-age z score, length-for-age z score, and weight-for-length z score. Changes in anthropometrics over time were compared to ascertain the impact of nutritional interventions. Data were shown as mean ± standard deviation.
Nineteen infants with CHD required tracheostomy at 160 ± 109 days (7–364 days), 13 had reparative surgery, and 6 had palliative surgery for single ventricle. The indications for tracheostomy consisted of airway abnormality/obstruction (n = 13), chronic respiratory failure (n = 7), and/or vocal cord paresis (n = 2). Initial maintenance nutritional target was set at 100–130 cal/kg per day. Fourteen patients (73.7%) became obese (maximum weight-for-length z score: 2.59 ± 0.47) under tracheostomy and gastrostomy feeding, whereas five patients did not (weight-for-length z score: 0.2 ± 0.83). Eight obese patients (weight-for-length z score: 2.44 ± 0.85) showed effective reduction of obesity within 6 months (weight-for-length z score: 0.10 ± 0.20; p < 0.05 compared with pre-adjustment) after appropriate feeding adjustment (40–90 cal/kg per day). Overall mortality was high (31.6%) in this population.
Standard nutritional management resulted in overfeeding and obesity in young children with CHD requiring positive pressure ventilation via tracheostomy. Optimal nutritional management in this high-risk population requires close individualised management by multidisciplinary teams.
To examine the clinical utility of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist 17 for identifying psychosocial concerns and improving access to psychology services within a paediatric cardiology clinic.
Parents of 561 children (aged 4–17 years) presenting for follow-up of CHD, acquired heart disease, or arrhythmia completed the Pediatric Symptom Checklist 17 as part of routine care; three items assessing parental (1) concern for learning/development, (2) questions about adjustment to cardiac diagnosis, and (3) interest in discussing concerns with a behavioural healthcare specialist were added to the questionnaire. A psychologist contacted the parents by phone if they indicated interest in speaking with a behavioural healthcare specialist.
Percentages of children scoring above clinical cut-offs for externalising (10.5%), attention (8.7%), and total (9.3%) problems were similar to a “normative” primary-care sample, whereas fewer children in this study scored above the cut-off for internalising problems (7.8%; p<0.01). Sociodemographic, but not clinical, characteristics were associated with Pediatric Symptom Checklist 17 scores. 17% of the parents endorsed concerns about learning/development, and 20% endorsed questions about adjustment to diagnosis. History of cardiac surgery was associated with increased concern about learning/development (p<0.01). Only 37% of the parents expressing psychosocial concerns reported interest in speaking with a psychologist.
The Pediatric Symptom Checklist 17 may not be sensitive to specific difficulties experienced by this patient population. A questionnaire with greater focus on learning/development and adjustment to diagnosis may yield improved utility. Psychology integration in clinics serving high-risk cardiac patients may decrease barriers to behavioural healthcare services.
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