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Guaiac stool testing has been routinely used as a method to detect gastrointestinal complications in infants with critical congenital heart disease (CHD); however, the sensitivity and specificity have not been established.
A retrospective chart review was performed investigating the presence of heme-positive stools and subsequent gastrointestinal complications as well as time to goal caloric intake and radiograph exposure.
The presence of heme-positive stools was not a statistically significant factor in patients with critical CHD that experienced gastrointestinal complications. Additionally, patients with heme-positive stools did undergo more abdominal X-rays than those with heme-negative stools.
The routine use of guaiac stool testing in infants with critical CHD is not a predictor of possible gastrointestinal complications and leads to more radiograph exposure for the patient. Close clinical monitoring can be used to evaluate feeding tolerance in infants with critical CHD.
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