[Meconium evacuation to improve feeding tolerance in very low birth weight preterm infants (Emita Protocol)]

Rev Chil Pediatr. 2014 Jun;85(3):304-11. doi: 10.4067/S0370-41062014000300006.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: It has been reported that feeding tolerance in preterm infants is associated with an early passage of meconium. Prospective, randomized or historical control studies that stimulate meconium evacuation have reported varied results. This study was intented to evaluate the use of enemas to speed up meconium evacuation, facilitating feeding tolerance.

Patients and method: A controlled multicenter randomized trial that evaluated the use of physiological saline enemas with glycerol (0.8 ml glycerol + 3 ml saline or 1 ml glycerol + 5 ml saline depending on babies weighing less or more than 800 g at birth, respectively) versus simulation. This procedure was performed in the first 96 hours of life in infants with birth weight between 500 and 1,250 g. Maternal (preterm delivery, clinical chorioamnionitis, gestational hypertension, administration of magnesium sulfate and prenatal corticosteroids, fetal Doppler altered, type of delivery, gender, weight and gestational age, assessment of Apgar and need for assisted ventilation and oxygenotherapy) and nutritional history (age when feeding volumes of 100 ml/kg/day and full enteral feeding were reached, age to remove meconium, number of days on parenteral nutrition, weight at 28 days, weekly volumes of breast milk and preterm formula) were described.

Results: No significant differences were obtained regarding the age to reach full enteral intake or 100 ml/kg/day were found among the 101 patients in the study. Also, no differences in the following secondary variables are observed: number of episodes of late sepsis with or without positive blood culture, hyperbilirubinemia, necrotizing enterocolitis and intraventricular hemorrhage.

Conclusions: The routine use of saline enemas and glycerin in this study does not alter the enteral feeding tolerance in very low birth weight preterm infants.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Enema / methods*
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods*
  • Glycerol / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Meconium / metabolism*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sodium Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Glycerol