Effect of early, hypocaloric, low volume enteral feedings in high risk very low birthweight infants
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of early, hypocaloric, low volume enteral feedings on the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and feeding intolerance, as well as its effect on weight gain, time to full enteral feedings, and length of hospital stay in high risk very low birthweight (VLBW) infants. Infants in the experimental group (n=7) began a small amount of hypocaloric feeding at 48 hours of age, with infants in the control group (n=8) receiving only parenteral alimentation until at least day eight of life. One infant in the control group developed NEC. The experimental group tolerated full enteral feedings significantly sooner than the control group (p=0.03) and required significantly fewer days of parenteral alimentation (p=0.046). The experimental group had fewer days that feedings were held due to feeding intolerance (p=0.07), and tended to have a shorter duration of hospitalization (p=0.19); however, this was not statistically significant. Mean daily weight gain did not differ except during week eight of the study, when the experimental group demonstrated a significantly greater mean daily weight gain (p=0.03). Early, hypocaloric, low volume, enteral feedings may improve feeding tolerance in high risk VLBW infants.