Reduction in postnatal cumulative nutritional deficit and improvement of growth in extremely preterm infants


Thibault Senterre, M.D., Service Universitaire de Néonatologie, CHR de la Citadelle, Boulevard du Douzième de Ligne, 1 4000 Liège, Belgium. Tel: +32-4-2257682 | Fax: +32-4-2257363 | Email:


Aim:  To evaluate the influence of gestational age (GA) on cumulative nutritional deficit and postnatal growth in extremely preterm (EPT) infants after optimizing nutritional protocol as recently recommended.

Methods:  A prospective, nonrandomized, observational study in extremely preterm (EPT, <28 weeks) and very preterm (VPT, 28–30 weeks) infants.

Results:  Eighty-four infants were included (BW: 978 ± 156 g, GA: 27.8 ± 1.3 weeks). Cumulative nutritional deficit increased during first week of life to −290 ± 84 and −285 ± 117 kcal/kg and −4.2 ± 3.1 and −4.8 ± 3.9 g/kg of protein in EPT and VPT groups, respectively. After 6 weeks, only cumulative energy deficit in EPT group remained significant (p < 0.05) even when 96% of theoretical energy intakes were provided. Weight z score decreased during first 3 days in average with initial weight loss, and then, the z score increased during the first 6 weeks of life in the majority (75%) of infants. Cumulative protein deficit during the first week of life was the major determinant of the postnatal growth during the first 6 weeks of life.

Conclusion:  Cumulative nutritional deficit may be drastically reduced in both EPT and VPT infants after optimizing nutritional policy during the first weeks of life, and the postnatal growth restriction could even be prevented.