Objective To describe the prevalence of weight loss during tube weaning and its impact on wean duration and growth.
Setting Tertiary feeding clinic, UK.
Patients All children seen for weaning from long-term enteral feeding between 2008 and 2016.
Interventions Outpatient withdrawal of enteral feeding.
Design Case series of children being weaned from tube feeding, documenting clinical details, periods of weight loss and timing of feed changes, as well as height and weight at baseline and within 1 year after feed cessation.
Main outcome measures Amount and frequency of weight loss, wean duration, change in body mass index (BMI) and height SD z score.
Results Weaning was attempted in 58 children, median age 2.7 years, and 90% had stopped feeds after median (range) 5.9 (1–40) months. Weight loss was seen in 51 (88%) children and was more common and severe in children with initially higher BMI. Time to feed cessation reduced by median 4.9 months between 2008–2011 and 2012–2016, while having feeds increased prolonged the wean duration, by median 13 months. After feed cessation, mean (95% CI) BMI had dropped by 0.84 (0.5 to 1.2) z scores, but neither change in BMI, nor the amount and frequency of weight loss, related to growth.
Conclusions Short-term weight loss is to be expected during tube weaning and is not associated with compromised growth. It is important to avoid overfeeding enterally fed children and not to increase feeds again in response to weight loss.
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Contributors CMW—conceptualisation, data curation, project administration, formal analysis, methodology, writing original draft, review, editing and guarantor. EF and JL—conceptualisation, review and editing. SM and BM—project administration, data curation, review and editing.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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