Introduction The optimal perioperative feeding strategies for neonates with CHD are unknown. In the present study, we describe the current feeding practices across a multi-institutional cohort.
Methods: Inclusion criteria for this study were as follows: all neonates undergoing cardiac surgery admitted to the cardiac ICU for ⩾24 hours preoperatively between October, 2013 and July, 2014 in the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium registry.
Results: The cohort included 251 patients from eight centres. The most common diagnoses included the following: hypoplastic left heart syndrome (17%), coarctation/aortic arch hypoplasia (18%), and transposition of the great arteries (22%); 14% of the patients were <37weeks of gestational age. The median total hospital length of stay was 21 days (interquartile range (IQR) 14-35) and overall mortality was 8%. Preoperative feeding occurred in 133 (53%) patients. The overall preoperative feeding rates across centres ranged from 29 to 79%. Postoperative feeds started on median day 2 (IQR 1-4); for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome postoperative feeds started on median day 4. Postoperative feeds were initiated in 89 (35%) patients before extubation (range across centres: 21-61%). The median cardiac ICU discharge feeding volume was 108 cc/kg/day, varying across centres. The mean discharge weight was 280 g above birth weight, ranging from +100 to 430 g across centres. A total of 110 (44%) patients had discharge feeding tubes, ranging from 6 to 80% across centres, and 40/110 patients had gastrostomy/enterostomy tubes placed. In addition, eight (3.2%) patients developed necrotising enterocolitis - three preoperatively and five postoperatively.
Conclusion: In this cohort, neonatal feeding practices and outcomes appear to vary across diagnostic groups and institutions. Only half of the patients received preoperative enteral nutrition; almost half had discharge feeding tubes. Multi-institutional collaboration is necessary to determine feeding strategies associated with best clinical outcomes.
Keywords: Neonate; cardiovascular ICU; cardiovascular surgery; feeding; nutrition.