Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal parenteral feeding regimen for infants with compromised respiratory function.
Methods: We studied the influence of varying the source of energy on respiratory gas exchange in 10 infants who were supported by mechanical ventilation and who received intravenous feedings. Two isoenergetic parenteral regimens were infused consecutively; the level of fat intake was varied inversely with that of glucose. Under similar ventilator settings, transcutaneous partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide, as well as indirect calorimetry were measured during each regimen.
Results: Despite the higher carbon dioxide production during the glucose-rich regimen (8.9 +/- 0.7 vs 7.9 +/- 0.4 ml/kg per minute, p < 0.05 by analysis of variance), transcutaneous partial pressure of carbon dioxide remained unaffected, suggesting ventilatory compensation as documented by the increased (p < 0.002) alveolar ventilation. This was not associated with a detectable rise in oxygen consumption, but with a significant change in partial pressure of oxygen (77 +/- 5 vs 66 +/- 3 mm Hg, p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Ventilator-dependent infants with early and mild bronchopulmonary dysplasia, who receive intravenous feedings of a moderate load of glucose-based energy, can compensate for enhanced carbon dioxide production by increasing their respiratory drive, with a beneficial effect on oxygenation compared with that observed when energy is derived from lipid-based solutions.