Feeding and nutritional challenges in infants with single ventricle physiology

Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 05/15/2012

Wolovits JS et al. – Delivery of adequate nutrition in infants with single ventricle physiology is essential to improve outcomes but is often difficult to achieve. Evidence–based feeding guideline development is crucial to improve outcomes in this group of patients.


  • Adequate enteral nutrition and growth are vital to recovery and survival of infants following palliation for univentricular hearts.
  • This group of patients experiences frequent feeding complications that may impede adequate delivery of enteral nutrition
  • This review presents the most recent data related to feeding practices, growth patterns and outcomes.
  • It also explores management strategies for delivering enteral nutrition safely and effectively to this high-risk group of infants.


  • Infants following palliation for single ventricle physiology have persistent growth failure until at least 14 months of life.
  • Greater daily caloric intake attenuates this growth failure.
  • Persistent growth failure is associated with increased mortality following cardiac surgery.
  • Management of enteral nutrition varies widely both pre and postoperatively.
  • Data suggest that standardizing feeding practices improves delivery of enteral nutrition and decreases feeding complications.

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