Effect of auditory, tactile, visual, and vestibular intervention on length of stay, alertness, and feeding progression in preterm infants

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2002 Feb;44(2):91-7. doi: 10.1017/s0012162201001736.


This study determined whether an auditory, tactile, visual, and vestibular intervention (ATVV) reduced the length of hospitalization of 37 preterm infants by increasing the proportion of alert behavioral states, thereby improving their feeding progression. Participants comprised 12 infants born between 23 and 26 weeks' gestation with normal head ultrasounds and 25 CNS-injured infants born between 23 and 31 weeks' gestation. Infants were randomly assigned to the control group (11 males, five females) or study group (seven males, 14 females) at 32 weeks' postconceptional age. ATVV intervention was administered to the study group for 15 minutes, twice daily, 5 days per week, from 33 weeks of age until discharge. The study group demonstrated increased alertness during the first 5 minutes of intervention, which was significantly correlated to length of stay (p<0.05). The proportion of nippled (teat) intake increased significantly faster for the study group (p=0.0001). Infants in the study group were discharged at a mean of 36.54 weeks, 1.6 weeks earlier than control infants (p<0.05). ATVV intervention facilitated increased alertness, faster transition to complete nipple feeding, and decreased length of hospitalization.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Length of Stay*
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Psychology, Child
  • Random Allocation
  • Touch*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology*