Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Enhances Interstage Growth in Infants with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

Anna K. Grindy, Michael J. Wilsey, Rhiannon Hickok, Thomas Nakagawa, Anthony A. Sochet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome undergoing staged palliation commonly experience chronic growth failure and malnutrition. Greater patient weight at stage 2 palliation (Glenn) is thought to be associated with improved perioperative outcomes. We aimed to compare weight for age z score and interstage growth velocity in children with and without a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy prior to Glenn and hypothesize that those with a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy experience-enhanced interstage growth and reduced malnutrition rates. Design: Single-center, retrospective cohort study. Setting: A total of 259-bed, quaternary, pediatric referral center. Patients: Infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome from 2007 to 2016 with and without percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy insertion after initial palliation (Norwood). Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: Primary outcomes were weight for age z score (at birth, Norwood, Norwood discharge, and Glenn), interstage growth velocity, and moderate-to-severe malnutrition (weight for age z score<-2) rates. Secondary outcomes were lengths of stay, mechanical ventilation rates after Glenn, and mortality. Statistical analyses included chi-square, Wilcoxon rank-sum, student's t, paired testing, and exploratory logistic regression. Of the 69 infants studied, 47 (68%) had percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy insertion at a median of 156 (interquartile range, 115-158) days prior to Glenn. Among children with and without percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, we observed no differences in demographics, comorbidities, cardiothoracic surgical times, postoperative Glenn outcomes (length of stay, mechanical ventilation rate, peak 24-hr lactate, nitric oxide use, extracorporeal life support rate, or mortality), weight for age z score at birth, and weight for age z score at Norwood. At the time of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy insertion, weight for age z score was -2.5 ± 1.3 and subsequent growth velocity increased from 8 ± 7 to 40 ± 59 g/d (p < 0.01). From Norwood discharge to the date of Glenn, weight for age z score increased in infants with percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (-2.5 ± 1.1 to -1.5 ± 1.4 [p < 0.01]) with a large reduction in moderate-to-severe malnutrition rates (76-36%; p < 0.01). In general, weight for age z score at the time of Glenn was associated with reduced postoperative mortality (odds ratio, 0.3; 95% CI, 0.09-0.95; p = 0.04). Conclusions: Infants undergoing palliation for hypoplastic left heart syndrome with percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy insertion prior to Glenn had improved growth velocity and dramatically reduced rates of moderate-to-severe malnutrition rates (40% reduction). In addition, we noted weight for age z score at when Glenn was associated with improved postoperative Glenn survival. No complications from percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy were noted. Placement of a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy improved weight for age z score, enhanced interstage growth, and reduced malnutrition rates for this at-risk population of malnourished children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E213-E223
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • cardiothoracic surgery
  • hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • infants
  • malnutrition
  • percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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