critical care, maternal-child nursing, nursing assessment, nutrition



  1. da Silva, Viviane Martins MSN
  2. de Oliveira Lopes, Marcos Venicios PhD
  3. de Araujo, Thelma Leite PhD


Background and Research Objective: Factors predictive of growth deficit and nutritional status in children with congenital heart disease remain unclear. The objective of this study was to characterize the growth and nutritional status of children with congenital heart disease based on anthropometric measurements and z scores.


Subjects and Methods: One hundred and thirty-five children 1 year or younger, who had not undergone surgical correction, were evaluated. The variables studied were sex; age; type of heart disease; length, weight; z scores (length-for-age, weight-for-age, weight-for-length); abdominal, thoracic, and cephalic circumferences; triceps and subscapular skinfold thickness; and birth weight and birth length.


Results and Conclusions: The mean age of children in this study was 4.75 +/- 3.75 months and most (66.7%) were male. Mean anthropometric measurements were birth length, 48.6 +/- 2.34 cm; birth weight, 3.11 +/- 0.63 kg; cephalic circumference, 38.51 +/- 3.28 cm; thoracic circumference, 38.65 +/- 3.76 cm; abdominal circumference, 37.96 +/- 3.27 cm; triceps skinfold thickness, 3.69 +/- 1.57 mm; subscapular skinfold thickness, 3.22 +/- 1.34 mm; current length, 57.54 +/- 7.87 cm; and current weight, 4.46 +/- 1.49 kg. Variables significant for malnutrition in logistic regression models were sex, type of heart disease, birth weight, birth length, subscapular thickness, triceps thickness, and cephalic circumference. Nutritional defects were more evident in the case of the weight-for-age index. Boys had greater deterioration in the weight-for-age index, possibly indicating acute malnutrition, and girls had worse values for the height-for-age index, indicating a risk of chronic malnutrition.