Objective: The objective of this prospective, randomized clinical trial was to test the hypothesis that there is no difference in the frequency of feeding problems and necrotizing enterocolitis between a group of premature infants who received early enteral feedings while low umbilical artery catheters (LUACs) were in place, and a late group who were not fed until 24 hours after removal of LUACs. Patients and methods: Twenty-nine premature infants (born at 28.5±3.0 SD weeks of gestational age) who were in stable condition received early enteral feedings at a median of 2 days while a LUAC was in place; 31 infants (born at 28.6±2.7 SD weeks of gestational age) received late enteral feedings at a median of 5 days of age, 24 hours after the removal of the LUAC. Feeding complications and interventions and nutritional characteristics were recordec prospectively. Results: There were no differences in the baseline perinatal characteristics of the two groups. The incidence of gastric residua and the incidence of abdominal distention were the same in both groups. The early feeding group had significantly fewer percutaneous central venous catheters, evaluations for sepsis, and episodes of receiving nothing by mouth while a gastric suction tube was in place. Infants in the early group received parenteral alimentation-lipid emulsion infusions for a median of 13 days versus 30 days for the late-fed group (p=0.0028 by Wilcoxon test). There were two cases of necrotizing enterocolitis in the early group versus four cases in the late group. Conclusions: Premature infants in stable condition who receive enteral feedings while LUACs are in place do not have an increased incidence of feeding problems compared with infants who do not receive enteral feedings until 24 hours after removal of LUACs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health