Failure to thrive in children with congenital heart conditions

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Learn about failure to thrive and how your child's health-care team manages it.

Key points

  • Underlying causes of failure to thrive can include heart problems, breathing problems, gastrointestinal problems and inability to absorb nutrients.
  • The doctor will need to assess your child regularly to determine and treat the underlying cause.

Failure to thrive means a difficulty growing and gaining weight.

Failure to thrive can have many causes and is common in premature babies. These babies do not meet the weight and height milestones on growth charts that they should. In some cases they may even lose weight.

The underlying cause of failure to thrive can include:

  • heart problems
  • breathing problems
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • inability to absorb nutrients.

To resolve this problem, the doctor will treat the underlying cause. Your child will need to be assessed regularly and have follow-up appointments with a paediatrician or dietitian to make sure they are consuming the proper amounts of high-calorie formula or foods.

Last updated: December 4th 2009