The Relationship Between Duration of Tube Feeding and Oral Feeding Success
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Objective. To identify the potential relationships between duration of tube feeding and (1) oral feeding success in preterm infants; (2) alert behavioral states, orally-directed behaviors, and nutritive sucking.
Design. A descriptive correlational study.
Setting. A level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at an inner-city hospital.
Participants. Twenty-eight preterm infants who were born between 28 to 32 weeks gestational age, clinically stable, and expected to have at least one week of tube feeding during their initial hospitalization.
Methods. Data were collected daily from the infants’ electronic medical records and at a one-time oral feeding evaluation within 48 hours after the removal of the feeding tube.
Results. A significant negative correlation between duration of tube feeding and oral feeding success (β = −1.10, P = 0.000, Ꙍ² = 0.41) was identified. There was no correlation between duration of tube feeding and alert behavioral states, orally-directed behaviors, or nutritive sucking.
Conclusion. While the duration of tube feeding is a non-modifiable factor, preterm infants who are anticipated to have longer duration of tube feeding may be at risk for delayed oral feeding success.