Aims Assessment of growth velocity and nutritional intake in extremely premature infants and compare this to recommended standards. And to correlate growth velocity with nutritional intake, medical factors such as sepsis, respiratory support, patent ductus arteriosus and steroids.
Methods 35 infants were studied, stratified by a birth weight of less than 1000 grams and between 1000 to 1500 grams. Data relating to nutritional intake (kcal/kg/day and protein in g/kg/day) were collected and growth velocity between day 1 and day 28 was calculated. Intake from parenteral and enteral nutrition on days of life 0, 3, 7, 14, 21 and 28 were collected.
Results Out of 35 neonates studied, 9 babies were less than 1000 g and 26 babies weighed between 1000 g to 1500 g. 20 were female infants and 15 were male with gestation age ranging from 24+1 weeks to 32 weeks. The mean growth velocity was 13.05 g/kg/day (range 4.1 g/kg/day to 30 g/kg/day). Weight gain was inadequate in infants who had proven sepsis, and those requiring respiratory support in form of mechanical ventilation. The mean protein intake was 2.1 g/kg/d (range 1.4 g/kg/d to 2.5 g/kg/d) and growth velocity was slow in babies on lower range of protein intake. The mean calories was calculated to be 81 kcal/kg/day.
Conclusion In our study the average weight growth velocity was similar to previously published studies. Greater severity of illness including sepsis and lower protein intake were the strongest predictors of slower growth. The protein intake for babies included in our study was lower than the recommended intake of 3 g/kg/d for premature neonates.