Jan 29 2024


6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

The Impact of Congenital Heart Defects on Feeding/Swallowing Development in Infants and Children

Presented by Hema Desai, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, CLE, NTMTC

Infants and children with congenital heart defects (CHD) present with feeding and swallowing challenges secondary to the impact of the underlying cardiac defect or surgical intervention on multiple body systems. Feeding and swallowing development relies on the integration of the neurological, cardiorespiratory and gastrointestinal systems, that when disordered, can result in poor oral motor skill development, dysphagia, oral aversion and parental stress. These challenges can persist into early childhood, requiring a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to assessment and management starting at infancy through school age. This course will provide an overview of congenital heart defects and etiologies of feeding and swallowing disorders in this population. Considerations for feeding and swallowing assessment in the post-surgical infant and child in acute care and outpatient, as well as treatment strategies will be discussed.

Important Registration Information

Tickets are available for Parent/Caregivers, Students, or Professionals. Please use the appropriate ticket for your role. Professional are asked to register individually (not as as group).

Time & Date

Please note this event is taking place at 6:30 pm Central Time, and will be held virtually via Zoom. To find out what time this is where you live, look here. Registration will close at 5:00 pm Central Time 1/28/2024. **Please check your spam folder as our emails occasionally end up there.**

CEU Credits

This course is being submitted for credit with the Illinois Early Intervention Program. Please check with your local professional organization to determine additional professional education credit. Those who have paid for a professional ticket and are in attendance for the duration of the full event will receive a certificate of attendance for credit. Those who registered for a student ticket will also receive a certificate, however these will not be eligible for CEUs.

Financial Assistance

Should cost be a concern that would hinder your participation, we may be able to offer financial assistance. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Lindsay Hoffer at

About Hema Desai

Hema Desai, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, CLE, NTMTC is an inpatient speech pathologist at CHOC Children’s Hospital, working with infants and children with feeding and swallowing disorders. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree at Boston University and Master of Science degree at Emerson College. She has a board certification specialty in swallowing and swallowing disorders (BCS-S) and neonatal touch and massage and is a clinical lactation educator. Hema is a clinical supervisor to graduate students at CHOC, as well as a therapist on the Multidisciplinary Intensive Feeding Program. She has presented at several national cardiac conferences, ASHA conventions and California state conferences, as well as co-authored publications in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored a book chapter. Her professional interests are primarily in pediatric feeding and dysphagia, as well as working with infants with congenital heart defects. She is also co-vice chair of CNNN (Cardiac Newborn Neuroprotective Network), a special interest group of CNOC (Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Collaborative) focusing on research and education on feeding and swallowing challenges in children with congenital heart defects.