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Nutrition Implications of Pediatric Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects in the pediatric population are a serious condition. Many defectscongenital heart defects require surgical intervention to correct or improve the problem. Often, there are nutrition-related implications associated with heart defects. Here is more information about how nutrition may be affected to help you understand this aspect of your child’s health.

The Link between Nutrition and Congenital Heart Defects:

  • Digestion and absorption of nutrients. The major job of the human heart is to pump blood throughout the body. The blood carries nutrients and oxygen to be used for energy and to support all body functions. With a heart defect, blood circulation may be suboptimal, since the heart may not be pumping strongly or efficiently. This can result in poor blood flow to the gut, which means that the gut is not getting the nutrients and energy it needs to perform digestive functions effectively. Nutrients may not be absorbed well, which can lead to poor weight gain and general intolerance of feeds (diarrhea, reflux, delayed gastric emptying). Read more