Relationship Between Duration of Tube Feeding and Success of Oral Feeding in Preterm Infants

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Abstract

Objective

Primary: to identify the potential relationship between duration of tube feeding and success of oral feeding in preterm infants; secondary: to identify the potential relationships among duration of tube feeding and alert behavioral states, orally directed behaviors, and nutritive sucking.

Design

A descriptive correlational study.

Setting

A Level III NICU at an inner-city hospital.

Participants

Twenty-eight preterm infants who were born between 28 and 32 weeks gestational age, were clinically stable, and were expected to have at least 1 week of tube feeding during their initial hospitalizations.

Methods

Data were collected daily from participants’ electronic medical records and at one-time oral feeding evaluations within 48 hours after the removal of the feeding tube.

Results

We found a significant negative correlation between duration of tube feeding and oral feeding success (p = .000). We found no correlations between duration of tube feeding and alert behavioral states, orally directed behaviors, or nutritive sucking.

Conclusion

Although the duration of tube feeding is a nonmodifiable factor, preterm infants who are anticipated to have extended durations of tube feeding may be at risk for delayed oral feeding success.

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