The enigma to achieve normal postnatal growth in preterm infants – using parenteral or enteral nutrition?

Authors


Correspondence

V Christmann, Department of Pediatrics, Subdivision of Neonatology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, P.O. Box 9101, Internal Postal Code 804, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Tel: 00-31-24-3614430 |

Fax: 00-31-24-361-64-28 |

Email: v.christmann@cukz.umcn.nl

Abstract

Aim

To evaluate whether increasing the amount of amino acids and energy in parenteral nutrition combined with rapid increment of enteral feeding improves postnatal growth in preterm infants.

Methods

Observational study; two consecutive year-cohorts of preterm infants; Cohort 2 received higher supplementation of parenteral amino acids and energy with more rapid enhancement of enteral feeding than Cohort 1. Nutritional intake, weight and head circumference (HC) were compared.

Results

Cohort 2 [N: 79, gestational age (GA): 29.8 ± 2.2 weeks, birth weight (BW): 1248 ± 371 g] achieved full enteral feeds earlier (p < 0.001) and had a higher protein/energy intake during the first week (p < 0.001) than Cohort 1 (N: 68, GA: 29.5 ± 2.3 weeks, BW: 1261 ± 339 g). Both cohorts developed cumulative protein/energy deficits, but less in Cohort 2 (p < 0.01). Appropriate for gestational age infants (AGA) of Cohort 2 improved weight gain until week 5 (p < 0.01) compared to AGA of Cohort 1, nevertheless all infants demonstrated a decline in mean standard deviation score (>1) for weight at term. Small for GA infants failed to improve HC.

Conclusion

Improved parenteral intake may lead to improved short-term postnatal weight gain. Faster increase of enteral nutrition was well tolerated but failed to prevent nutritional deficits. Practising early enteral feeding with higher supplementation of nutrients may be needed and requires further study.

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