Title : The Importance of Nutrition of Children with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)
The term Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) includes congenital structural or functional abnormalities of the cardiovascular system that can be identified at birth or later. A structural defect in the heart can be named as a congenital heart defect, congenital heart anomaly, or cardiovascular malformation. CHD is the most common congenital anomalies in newborns. The incidence rate is 1% on average and is between 8-12 per 1000 live births. 10-15% of children with this anomaly are included in the critical CHD group, and its frequency is 1.2-1.7 per 1000 live births. In a study conducted in Turkey, the frequency of CHD was found to be 5 per 1000 live births in the first week. In another study conducted in the Central Anatolian region, the frequency of CHD was found to be 7.7 per 1000 live births.
In children with heart disease, secondary problems brought about by the disease are of great importance besides the characteristic findings of the disease. The most important of these problems are nutritional deficiencies, anemia and growth retardation. Frequent upper respiratory tract infections, pulmonary hypertension, genetic and intrauterine causes, anoxia, heart failure, abnormal endocrine functions, inadequate nutritional and energy intake are among the causes of growth retardation. Malnutrition is observed in 25-55% of children with CHD, and it is reported that 80% of children with CHD with malnutrition are hospitalized. Causes such as tachypnea, tachycardia, and respiratory distress in children with heart disease affect their nutrition negatively. The importance of nutrition for children with heart disease is emphasized because growth is directly affected.
Mothers with 0-3-year-old children should fulfill their responsibilities in infant feeding correctly and ensure that their children are fed appropriately since children aged 0-3 have chronic diseases during the growth and development process, their immune systems are not fully developed, that is, because they are more susceptible to infections, they live their lives dependent on other people, they are in a rapid development and change, and for their full physical and mental development. It is important to plan and implement a holistic nursing care by supporting growth and development by providing appropriate family-centered care for children with CHD and meeting their nutritional needs.
Key Words: Nutrition, growth and development, child, congenital heart disease, nursing.