Trophic feeding of the preterm infant


RJ McClure, Neonatal Unit, Box 226, Addenbrookes Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2SW, UK (Tel. +44 1223 586629, fax. +44 1223 217064, e-mail.


Trophic feeding is the practice of feeding minute volumes of enteral feeds in order to stimulate the development of the immature gastrointestinal tract of the preterm infant This paper reviews the randomized controlled studies that have examined the physiological and clinical responses to trophic feeding of the preterm infant. Trophic feeding alters gastrointestinal disaccharidase activity, hormone release, blood flow, motility and microbial flora. Clinical benefits appear to include improved milk tolerance, greater postnatal growth, reduced systemic sepsis and shorter hospital stay. There is currently no evidence of any adverse effects following trophic feeding.