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Infants with CHD often experience growth failure. Ensuring optimal growth before surgery is associated with improved outcomes and has emerged as a significant cause of parental stress. Parents have reported a perceived lack of accessible feeding information for infants with CHD. To address this gap, the aim of this study was to develop feeding information to better support parents.
Materials and methods:
A search for existing material on six electronic databases and an internet search for unpublished (grey) literature on feeding information for infants with CHD were carried out. Following the development of feeding information, semi-structured interview(s) with parents/health-care professionals were completed, focusing on whether the information was easy to understand, relevant, provided sufficient information around feeding/feeding difficulties, and whether there were any information gaps. Iterative changes were made to the information following each interview. The process was completed until thematic saturation was achieved.
A total of 23 unique articles were identified of which 5 studies were included. From the grey literature, four web pages were reviewed. A total of 22 parents and 25 health-care professionals were interviewed. All parents/health-care professionals felt that the feeding information developed provided sufficient information; however, many wanted information on how to introduce complementary food, particularly if weaning was delayed.
This study describes the development of feeding information for infants with CHD. From parent interviews, gaps identified focused on the introduction of complementary foods and uncertainty regarding the feeding journey beyond surgery.
Despite improvements in the medical and surgical management of infants with CHD, growth failure before surgery in many infants continues to be a significant concern. A nutritional pathway was developed, the aim of which was to provide a structured approach to nutritional care for infants with CHD awaiting surgery.
Materials and methods
The modified Delphi process was development of a nutritional pathway; initial stakeholder meeting to finalise draft guidelines and develop questions; round 1 anonymous online survey; round 2 online survey; regional cardiac conference and pathway revision; and final expert meeting and pathway finalisation.
Paediatric Dietitians from all 11 of the paediatric cardiology surgical centres in the United Kingdom contributed to the guideline development. In all, 33% of participants had 9 or more years of experience working with infants with CHD. By the end of rounds 1 and 2, 76 and 96% of participants, respectively, were in agreement with the statements. Three statements where consensus was not achieved by the end of round 2 were discussed and agreed at the final expert group meeting.
Nutrition guidelines were developed for infants with CHD awaiting surgery, using a modified Delphi process, incorporating the best available evidence and expert opinion with regard to nutritional support in this group.