Feeding infants with congenital heart disease

Dietary intake in infants with complex congenital heart disease: a case–control study on macro- and micronutrient intake, meal frequency and growth  

Hansson et al., JHND Early View


Children with severe congenital heart disease (CHD) need considerable nutritional support to reach normal growth. The actual intake of macro- and micronutrients in outpatient CHD infants over a 6-month period in infancy is not described in the literature. The present study aimed to prospectively investigate the distribution between macro- and micronutrient intake, meal frequency and growth in children with CHD.


At 6, 9 and 12 months of age, a 3-day food diary and anthropometric data were collected in 11 infants with severe CHD and 22 healthy age- and feeding-matched controls. Macro- and micronutrient intake, meal frequency and growth were calculated.


Compared to the healthy controls, CHD infants had a statistically significantly higher intake of fat at 9 months of age (4.8 versus 3.6 g kg−1day−1), a higher percentage energy (E%) from fat, (40.6% versus 34.5%) and a lower E% from carbohydrates (46.1% versus 39.6%) at 12 months of age, and a lower intake of iron (7.22 versus 9.28 mg day−1) at 6 months of age. Meal frequency was significantly higher at 6 and 9 months of age (P < 0.01). Mean Z-score weight for height, weight for age and body mass index for age were significant lower (P < 0.01) at all time points.


Despite a higher intake of energy from fat and a higher meal frequency, the intake does not meet the needs for growth, and the results may indicate a low intake of micronutrients in CHD infants.

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