Pre-operative enteral feeding in single-ventricle CHD patients and necrotising enterocolitis risk.

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DOI: 10.1017/S1047951123001580


INTRODUCTION: Enteral feeding prior to cardiac surgery has benefits in pre-operative and post-operative patient statuses. In 2020, to increase pre-operative feeding for single-ventricle patients prior to stage 1 palliation, an enteral feeding algorithm was created. The aim of this study is to monitor the impact of our practice change with the primary outcome of necrotising enterocolitis incidence from birth to 2 weeks following surgical intervention.

METHODS: This is a single-site, retrospective cohort study including patients from 1 March, 2018 to 1 July, 2022. Variables assessed include demographics, age at cardiac surgery, primary cardiac diagnosis, necrotising enterocolitis pre-operative and 2 weeks post-operative cardiac surgery, feeding route, feeding type, volume of trophic enteral feeds, and near-infrared spectroscopy.

RESULTS: Following implementation of a pre-operative enteral feeding algorithm, the rate of neonates fed prior to surgery increased (39.5-75%, p = .001). The feedings included a mean volume of 28.24 ± 11.16 ml/kg/day, 83% fed breastmilk only, 44.4% tube fed, and 55.5% of infants had all oral feedings. Comparing enterally fed neonates and those not enterally fed, the necrotising enterocolitis incidence from birth to 2 weeks post-op was not significantly increased (p = 0.926).

CONCLUSION: As a result of implementing our feeding algorithm, the frequency of infants fed prior to stage I Norwood or Hybrid surgeries increased to 75%, and there was no significant change in the incidence of necrotising enterocolitis. This study confirmed that pre-operative enteral feeds are safe and are not associated with increased incidence of necrotising enterocolitis.

Journal Title

Cardiology in the young





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MeSH Keywords

Infant; Female; Infant, Newborn; Humans; Enteral Nutrition; Retrospective Studies; Enterocolitis, Necrotizing; Univentricular Heart; Fetal Diseases


Enteral feeding; Hypoplastic left heart syndrome; Necrotising enterocolitis; Single ventricle

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