Poor Weight Recovery Between Stage 1 Palliation and Hospital Discharge for Infants with Single Ventricle Physiology: An Analysis of the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative Phase II Dataset

J Pediatr. 2021 Jul;234:20-26.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2021.03.035. Epub 2021 Mar 25.


Objective: To investigate change in weight-for-age z-scores (WAZ) and risk factors for impaired weight gain between stage 1 palliation (S1P) for single ventricle physiology and discharge.

Study design: This was a secondary analysis of the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative Phase II database. The primary outcome was change in WAZ between S1P and discharge. Risk factors were selected using multivariable mixed effects regression constructed by step-wise model selection, with adjustment for WAZ at S1P and a random effect for center.

Results: Of 730 infants who were discharged after S1P, WAZ decreased in 98.6% (-1.5 ± 0.7). WAZ at discharge was <-1 but >-2 (at risk) in 40% and <-2 (failure to thrive) in 35% of participants. Males, higher WAZ at S1P, non-S1P procedures (mostly noncardiac), increased length of stay, necrotizing enterocolitis, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor use at discharge were associated with a greater decrease in WAZ. Preoperative enteral feeding and respiratory medications were associated with a lesser decrease in the WAZ.

Conclusions: Nearly all infants lose weight after S1P with little recovery by hospital discharge. At discharge, three-quarters of the infants in the cohort were at risk for impaired weight gain or had failure to thrive. Most risk factors associated with change in WAZ were unmodifiable or surrogates of disease severity. Novel interventions are needed to minimize the early catabolic effects and promote anabolic recovery after S1P.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Failure to Thrive / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome / surgery*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Quality Improvement
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Univentricular Heart / surgery*
  • Weight Gain