Feeding Proficiency and Efficiency for Preterm Infants with BPD

Friday, 26 July 2013: 10:15 AM

Gail C. McCain, PhD, RN, FAAN
Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, Hunter College, CUNY, New York, NY

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able define feeding proficiency for preterm infants with BPD.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to define feeding efficiency for preterm infants with BPD.

Purpose: Preterm infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) have immature nutritive sucking patterns and are less proficient (% volume ingested) and less efficient (ml/minute ingested) compared to preterm infants without BPD and term infants. The objective was to describe the progression of proficiency and efficiency for preterm infants with BPD from their first oral feedings to the attainment of full oral feeding.

Methods: The setting was a 120 bed neonatal intensive care unit. A randomized, experimental design included 86 preterm infants with BPD who were assigned to the control condition (n = 42) (standard care) or the experimental protocol (n = 44). Nurses assigned to the experimental protocol used infant behavioral and cardio-respiratory responses to regulate frequency, length, and volume of feedings. Mean gestational ages at birth and birth weights were 25 + 1.54 weeks and 784 gm for the control group, and 25 + 1.48 weeks and 787 gm in the experimental group. ANOVA was used to analyze these data.

Results: There were no differences between study groups on proficiency (% volume ingested). Proficiency at first oral feeding was 68.1 control and 68.9 experimental, at mid-point was 88.3 control and 81.4 experimental, and on attainment of full oral feeding was 100 for both groups. Efficiency (ml/minute) was not different at first oral feeding with 1.4 control and 1.5 experimental, nor at mid-point with 1.9 control and 1.7 experimental. There was a significant difference at attainment of full feeding with 3.4 for control and 2.3 for experimental.

Conclusion: The difference in proficiency on attainment of full oral feeding was because the experimental infants reached feeding on an average of 6 days compared to control infants who took 12 days, and so were less mature. The proficiency to ingest a required volume of feeding necessary for growth is more important than efficiency.