A controlled trial
34 preterm infants with birthweights <1200 g were randomly assigned to total parenteral nutrition (TPN) or oral (Milk) feeding regimens for the first 2 weeks after birth. Infants in the TPN group were started on a modified Vamin-based glucose amino-acid infusion and Intralipid. The daily amounts of carbohydrate, amino-acids, and fat infusions were increased. In the Milk group, infants were started on intermittent gavage feeding, supplemented with a glucose-electrolyte infusion as necessary. The overall mortality rate did not differ in the two groups. Four infants in the Milk group developed necrotising enterocolitis but none did in the TPN group. Despite mean daily energy intakes which were not greatly different, there were much higher mean daily intakes of carbohydrate and protein in the TPN group compared with the Milk group. Fat intake in the TPN group was lower than in the Milk group in the 1st week because of neonatal jaundice which contraindicated the use of Intralipid. There was no difference in the mean daily fat intake by the 2nd week. Although mean daily weight loss in the 1st week and the maximum postnatal weight loss in the two groups were similar, infants in the TPN group had a greater mean daily weight gain in the 2nd week and took less time to regain and maintain birthweight. Metabolic complications were equally common in both groups and were reversible with early recognition. Limits of tolerance for water and most nutrients tended to be variable and the nutritional programme had to be adjusted for each baby. Nevertheless, we found that TPN, when properly managed, is an effective and safe procedure in very low birthweight infants.
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