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Crib-side studies help struggling newborns go home without feeding tubes
Date:1/22/2009

, spluttering, coughing during and after feeds, aspiration, regurgitation, failure to coordinate sucking and swallowing with breathing, and irritability during feeds. These feeding difficulties can be seen in patients with systemic illness and may relate to gastrointestinal, esophageal, behavioral, neurological, structural, and cardiorespiratory origins.

Despite the range of symptoms or causes of feeding difficulty, the desired objective is the same said Dr. Jadcherla, also an associate professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. "For every baby diagnosed with a feeding disorder, the ultimate goal is full oral feeds."

Teaching newborns to transition early to oral feeds is imperative. "We can make the greatest impact during the first few months of their lives because this is when the largest transformation is going on in their behaviors and feeding skills," said Dr. Jadcherla. If infants don't develop appropriate pathways to feeding skills early on, it is less likely that they will develop them during their lifetime.

The babies that learned to feed orally in the study did so through approaches developed at the Newborn and Infant Disorders Program at Nationwide Children's Hospital. The program accelerates newborns' feeding skills through individualized, crib-side studies. To determine the underpinning of each newborn's feeding problem, the team uses a special feeding tube with advanced sensors to capture the rhythm of muscular contractions throughout the entire aero-digestive tract, beginning with the mouth and ending beyond the stomach. The signals from the tube are translated into a graphic form and are evaluated. Data is then shared with a multidisciplinary clinical team that collaborates to execute the individualized strategies for delivering effective nutrition, based on the baby's individual needs.

In light of outcome data, this multidisciplinary program could serve as a model of care for
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Contact: Mary Ellen Peacock
MaryEllen.Peacock@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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