Background Early nutritional support (enteral and parenteral) has become the standard of care for preterm babies. However, there is lack of evidence based guidelines and current practices vary widely. Similarly the practices have changed significantly over past few years. Nevertheless, it remains important to monitor the impact on nutritional outcomes in preterm babies by implementing individual protocols.
Objectives To compare the short term nutritional outcomes in babies less than 32 weeks from two cohorts before and after implementing local unit nutritional protocol.
Design/methods The data was collected retrospectively from a single tertiary neonatal unit in north east, UK.
The nutritional outcomes in 2009 cohort were compared with 1991 cohort in terms of birth/discharge weight/centiles, days to start feeds and achieve full oral feeds and length of stay.
Results The mean birth weights and gestational age are comparable between the two cohorts.
In 2009 (p = p value (significant <0.05):
▶ Feeds were started earlier by mean of about 5 days (p 0.0001).
▶ Birth weight was achieved earlier by mean of 4 days (p 0.005).
▶ The babies were fully oral (bottle or breast) fed earlier by mean of 9 days (p 0.0001).
▶ The babies were discharged home earlier by 2 weeks (p 0.01).
▶ There was statistically significant improvement in discharge weight z scores.
Conclusion There has been an improvement in the short term nutritional outcomes following nutritional policy implementation. However, its impact on long term outcomes remains uncertain.
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