A comparison of continuous and intermittent enteral nutrition in NICU patients

J Neurosci Nurs. 1986 Dec;18(6):333-7. doi: 10.1097/01376517-198612000-00004.


Tube feedings are frequently used for the nutritional support of neurologically impaired patients. Feedings may be delivered either continuously or intermittently. There is little evidence for advantages of one method over the other in patients with neurologic problems. In this study, a convenience sample of 34 adult neurological intensive care unit (NICU) patients were randomly assigned to either continuous or intermittent administration. No significant differences were found in number or consistency of stools per day, presence of blue dye in pulmonary secretions as evidence of aspiration, or in caloric intake as a percent of the patient's nutritional goal. Also, there was no correlation between patient's level of consciousness, based on Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), and the incidence of aspiration. Implications for nursing practice are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diarrhea / prevention & control
  • Energy Intake
  • Enteral Nutrition / adverse effects
  • Enteral Nutrition / nursing*
  • Food, Formulated
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Nervous System Diseases / nursing*
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / prevention & control
  • Random Allocation