Article Text

  1. E M Boyle1,
  2. G Menon1,
  3. S Wild2,
  4. N McIntosh1
  1. 1Neonatal Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
  2. 2Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK


Aim To determine availability of guidelines for enteral feeding of preterm neonates in UK neonatal units.

Methods A questionnaire was sent to UK clinicians who care for infants <30 weeks’ gestation and/or ⩽1500 g birth weight, including questions about availability of guidelines for initiation, progression and discontinuation of feeds.

Results 258/625 (41.3%) clinicians responded, with at least one response from 134/168 (80%) units. Neonatologists were more likely to respond than general paediatricians contributing to neonatal care (P = 0.006). 52% indicated they had guidelines for feed initiation, 39% for progression, and 16% for discontinuation. Where ⩾2 responses came from one NNU (56% responding NNUs), these conflicted on 38%, 29% and 23% of occasions respectively. Responses indicated availability of guidelines for initiation in 42–64% of units, progression in 33–49%, discontinuation in 10–23%. 32%–53% of NNUs had no guideline for any aspect of feeding; less than 20% had guidelines for all three.

Conclusions Availability of guidelines is variable and may be as low as 10% for some aspects of feeding. Senior clinicians’ knowledge of guidelines is limited. Resulting variation in practice may influence important outcomes.

Boyle et al

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