Determinants of Length of Stay after Neonatal Cardiac Surgery Using Path Analysis

West J Nurs Res. 2023 Apr;45(4):306-315. doi: 10.1177/01939459221129037. Epub 2022 Oct 11.


After neonatal cardiac surgery, families, and the health care team strive for exclusive oral feedings before hospital discharge. With the hypothesis that exclusive oral feedings would reduce the length of stay (LOS), a multidimensional path analysis was used to examine a cross-section of 280 neonates from 2009 to 2013. Buttigieg, Abela, and Pace's theoretical framework of structural and process-related determinants of LOS was modeled with hypothesis-driven correlation and directionality. The recursive path model had a good global and local fit with outcome variances of 26% for exclusive oral feeding and LOS. In the full cohort and model groups (single and biventricular), when controlling for covariances: sepsis, birth distance, necrotizing enterocolitis, genetic differences, specialty consults, the age at which neonatal cardiac surgery occurred (β = .23, p ≤ .001) and the duration of postoperative intubation (β = .47, p ≤ .001) more significantly influenced the LOS than intermediate mediation of exclusive oral feedings at discharge.

Keywords: cardiology; enteral nutrition; length of stay; path analysis; pediatric.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures*
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Length of Stay