Flow Rates of Gavage Feedings Provided to Very Preterm Infants
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. College of Nursing Honors Theses; 2010
In 2007, more than 540,000 infants were born premature. GI maturation, a process that includes development of peristalsis and GI hormone secretion, must occur following delivery. Extremely premature infants (less than 29 weeks gestation) universally receive enteral nutrition and GI tract stimulation by gavage tube feeding until maturational development and coordination of the suck/swallow mechanism. Administering such a feeding is a common procedure that a nurse will perform several times throughout any given shift. Currently, gavage tube feedings are provided either by gravitational flow or the use of an infusion pump. However, relying on gravitational flow has questionable efficacy in relation to the amount of time needed to provide the feeding. An unknown question regarding this practice is whether the time variable impacts maturation of the GI tract. In current literature, there are no documented current practices or practice standards, as well as a lack of evidence regarding gravitational flow rates in relation to common enteral feeds and gavage tube characteristics. This study will be the first to evaluate different NG tube diameters and materials with different formula/breast milk consistencies to determine how long feedings would be expected to take under varying conditions. Three time trials will be run for each combination of tube size, tube material, and formula/breast milk consistency, with each variation run at two heights. The time taken for each trial will be recorded. Final resulting data will be analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics to define statistical and clinical significance. Expected findings include predictable and consistent timing correlations between said variables. This data can be used in further research to ultimately determine best and safe feeding protocols for very premature infants.