Background & aims: We report our experience of paediatric home enteral nutrition, as there is little detailed evidence published.
Methods: All patients younger than 18 years commencing treatment between January 1990 and December 2000 were included in this retrospective study.
Results: The study covered 416 children and adolescents, corresponding to a total of 243,844 days of home enteral nutrition (HEN). The mean (+/-SD) age of patients commencing treatment was 5.4+/-5.3 years (range 0.1-17.8). Indications were digestive disorders in 35% of patients, neurological and muscular disorders in 35%, malignancy in 11%, failure to thrive in 8%, and miscellaneous ailments in 9%. Enteral feeding comprised commercially available paediatric industrial diets in 36%, adult-type diet in 35% and infant formulas in 29%. Children received enteral feeding by nasogastric tube (53%), or gastrostomy (41%). A mechanical pump was used in 98% of the patients. The mean duration of treatment was 595+/-719 days.
Conclusions: HEN can be used while treating a large group of chronic diseases of children. It can be started very early in life and is often prolonged over several years.