Energy expenditure in infants with congenital heart disease, including a meta-analysis

M van der Kuip, M B Hoos, P P Forget, K R Westerterp, R J B J Gemke, K de Meer

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AIM: To assess energy requirements and body composition in preoperative children with congenital heart disease (CHD).

METHODS: In 11 infants with CHD (2-8 mo), total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and total body water (TBW) were measured with doubly labelled water and compared with historic data from healthy controls. Within the patient group, energy expenditure of infants with versus those without congestive heart failure was compared. Subsequently, the data were pooled with literature data in meta-analyses.

RESULTS: CHD patients showed increased TBW (mean +/- SD 66 +/- 3 vs 58 +/- 5% of body weight, p < 0.05) and energy expenditure (381 +/- 42 vs 298 +/- 36 kJ kg(-1) d(-1), p < 0.001). Meta-analyses showed that CHD infants have 35% increased TDEE (376 vs 278 kJ kg(-1) d(-1) , p < 0.00001) and 7% higher TBW (p < 0.0001). Coexistent congestive heart failure (treated with diuretics) had no influence on TDEE (mean difference 14 kJ kg(-1) d(-1) , not significant). In patients with heart failure and growth retardation, an energy balance study showed an average 12% loss of initially ingested energy due to vomiting, increased TDEE and low faecal energy loss, resulting in low energy available for growth, compared with controls (42 +/- 30 vs 96 +/- 61 kJ kg(-1) d(-1) , p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Many infants with CHD require substantially higher energy intake (at least 100 kJ kg(-1) d(-1) extra) owing to increased TDEE, which is not explained by a higher percentage of body water. Coexistent heart failure does not appear to have an additional influence on TDEE. In infants with CHD and growth failure factors other than elevated TDEE, including vomiting, may explain the disturbed energy balance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-7
Number of pages7
JournalActa paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


  • Body Composition
  • Body Water
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Heart Diseases/congenital
  • Heart Failure/congenital
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Prospective Studies

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