Early amino-acid administration improves preterm infant weight

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Premature infants, especially those born less than 1500 g, often exhibit slow overall growth after birth and lack of early nutritional support may be an important element. We tested the hypothesis that early administration of amino acids (within the first few hours of life) to infants born at less than 1500 g would be associated with fewer infants that were less than the 10th percentile at 36 weeks post-conceptual age than infants that received amino acids after the first 24 h of life.

Study Design:

A prospective intervention of early amino-acid (EAA) supplementation, began before 24 h of life, in preterm infants, <1500 g, was compared to a retrospective cohort of preterm infants receiving late amino-acid (LAA) supplementation, began after 24 h of life. The primary outcome variable was the proportion of infants at less than the 10th percentile at 36 weeks post-conceptual age.


Fewer infants fell below the 10th percentile (P<0.001) in the EAA group. Furthermore, infants in the EAA groups had significantly greater weight gains than did the LAA group (P<0.003) after adjusting for gestational age and time from birth to discharge. In addition, shorter duration of parenteral nutrition was associated with EAA supplementation (P<0.001).


A prospective strategy of EAA in preterm infants <1500 g was associated with an improved weight gain, suggesting that nutrition that included amino acids may be critical during the first 24 h of life.

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