Tube feeding outcomes of infants in a Level IV NICU

J Perinatol. 2019 Oct;39(10):1406-1410. doi: 10.1038/s41372-019-0449-z. Epub 2019 Aug 6.


Background: NICU patients are commonly discharged home with nasogastric (NG) or gastrostomy (G-tube) feeding, but wide practice variation exists. The objective of this study was to evaluate feeding and growth outcomes and complications in NICU patients discharged home with NG or G-tube feeding.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study of infants discharged from a Level IV NICU with an NG or G-tube who had follow up to 1 year. Clinical characteristics and outcomes were compared between groups.

Results: The study sample included 264 infants: 140 with NG and 124 with G-tube. More infants in the G-tube group (65%) still required tube feedings 12 months post-discharge than infants in the NG group (24%). Infants in the G-tube group had more tube-related ER visits than infants in the NG group. Growth outcomes did not differ.

Conclusion: Home NG feeding may be a safe alternative to a surgically placed G-tube in select NICU patients.

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Enteral Nutrition*
  • Female
  • Gastrostomy* / adverse effects
  • Growth
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn / growth & development
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Intubation, Gastrointestinal* / adverse effects
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies