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Study sheds light on deadly GI disease in infants born with complex congenital heart disease
Date:5/26/2010

Infants born with complex congenital heart disease are not only at risk for serious heart-related complications, but also for developing a deadly bowel disease, regardless of the type of surgical intervention they receive for their heart. These are the findings from a study by Nationwide Children's Hospital, and appearing in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine published online May 6 ahead of print.

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is one of the most common and most life-threatening gastrointestinal diseases in newborn infants and involves inflammation that can destroy the intestine. While premature infants are at especially high risk for developing NEC, the bowel disease is also significantly more common in late preterm and term neonates with congenital heart disease.

"NEC and congenital heart disease are two distinct disease processes, but they appear to be inter-related, particularly in patients with the congenital heart condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome," said Wendy Luce, MD, the study's lead author and principal investigator in the Center for Perinatal Research at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Research has shown that neonates undergoing the Norwood surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) have the highest risk for NEC of all congenital heart disease patients.

The hybrid approach has been developed at Nationwide Children's as an alternative strategy to the Norwood procedure for the management of HLHS and other forms of complex congenital heart disease. The hybrid approach shifts the risk of major open heart surgery and cardiopulmonary bypass to later in infancy. The incidence of NEC in patients undergoing the hybrid procedure has not been evaluated.

"Since both the Norwood and hybrid procedures have been shown to be effective in treating the immediate dangers associated with complex congenital heart diseases, it's important that we begin to compare the secondary outcomes and qu
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Contact: Mary Ellen Peacock
MaryEllen.Peacock@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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