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Faster Gastric Emptying Is Unrelated to Feeding Success in Preterm Infants: Randomized Controlled Trial

Baldassarre, Maria Elisabetta, Di Mauro, Antonio, Montagna, Osvaldo, Fanelli, Margherita, Capozza, Manuela, Wampler, Jennifer L., Cooper, Timothy, Laforgia, Nicola
Nutrients 2019 v.11 no.7
enteral feeding, gastric emptying, premature birth, protein hydrolysates, randomized clinical trials, ultrasonography
Objectives: To evaluate the relationship between gastric emptying (GE) time and days to achievement of full enteral feeding (&ge;140 mL/kg/day) in preterm infants randomly assigned to receive one of two marketed study formulas for the first 14 feeding days: intact protein premature formula (IPF) or extensively hydrolyzed protein (EHF) formula. Methods: In this triple-blind, controlled, prospective, clinical trial, we report GE time (time to half-emptying, t<inf>1/2</inf>) by real-time ultrasonography on Study Day 14, in preterm infants receiving IPF or EHF formula. The association between GE time and achievement of full enteral feeding was evaluated by Pearson correlation. Per-protocol populations for analysis included participants who (1) completed the study (overall) and (2) who received &ge; 75% study formula intake (mL/kg/day). Results: Median GE time at Day 14 was significantly faster for the EHF vs. IPF group overall and in participants who received &ge; 75% study formula intake (p &le; 0.018). However, we demonstrated GE time had no correlation with the achievement of full enteral feeding (r = 0.08; p = 0.547). Conclusion: Feeding IP premature formula vs. EH formula was associated with shorter time to full enteral feeding. However, faster GE time did not predict feeding success and may not be a clinically relevant surrogate for assessing feeding tolerance.