1Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada2IWK Health Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada3Department of Pediatrics, Paracelsus Medical University, Nuremberg, Germany4Department of Pediatrics, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India5Alberta Children's Hospital, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada*Reprint requests: Balpreet Singh, MD, Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, IWK Health Centre, 5850/5980 University Ave, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3K 6R8, Canada.
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ObjectiveTo evaluate the effect of not relying on prefeeding gastric residual volumes to guide feeding advancement on the time to reach full feeding volumes in preterm infants, compared with routine measurement of gastric residual volumes. We hypothesized that not measuring prefeeding gastric residual volumes can shorten the time to reach full feeds.Study designIn this single-center, randomized, controlled trial, we included gavage fed preterm infants with birth weights (BW) 1500-2000 g who were enrolled within 48 hours of birth. Exclusion criteria were major congenital malformations, asphyxia, and BW below the third percentile. In the study group, the gastric residual volume was measured only in the presence of bloody aspirates, vomiting, or an abnormal abdominal examination. In the control group, gastric residual volume was assessed routinely, and feeding advancement was based on the gastric residual volume. The primary outcome was the time to reach feeding volumes of 120 mL/kg per day. Secondary outcomes were time to regain BW, episodes of feeding interruptions, sepsis, and necrotizing enterocolitis.ResultsEighty-seven infants were enrolled. There were no differences between the study and control groups with respect to time to reach full feeds (6 days [95% CI, 5.5-6.5] vs 5 days [95% CI, 4.5-5.5]; P = .82), time to regain BW, episodes of feeding interruptions, or sepsis. Two infants in the control group developed necrotizing enterocolitis.ConclusionsAvoiding routine assessment of gastric residual volume before feeding advancement did not shorten the time to reach full feeds in preterm infants with BW between 1500 and 2000 g.Trial registrationClinicaltrials.gov: NCT01337622.