Impact of feeding method on diaphragm electrical activity and central apnea in preterm infants (FEAdi study)
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BACKGROUND: In preterm infants, it is unknown whether feeding affects neural breathing pattern. OBJECTIVES: By measuring the diaphragm electrical activity (Edi) waveform, we evaluated the effect of enteral feeding and compared the effects of feeding methods on neural breathing pattern and central apnea in very low birth weight preterm infants. METHODS: In a prospective, randomized, crossover study, ten non-ventilated preterm infants with birth weights<1250g and tolerating full feeds were randomized to either bolus feeding (BF) or slow infusion feeding (SF) over 90min, followed by crossover to the other method at the next feed. Edi was continuously measured by a feeding catheter with miniaturized sensors. Five 15-min epochs were chosen [Baseline (BL), first 15min and 90min after BF/SF started] for breath-by-breath analyses of neural breathing pattern, including Edi peak, Edi min (end-expiratory), neural inspiratory and expiratory times, neural respiratory rate, and central apnea. Primary outcome was change in Edi min with feed. Secondary outcomes include change in Edi peak, frequency and duration of central apnea with feeding. RESULTS: Although intrasubject coefficient of variation was not significantly different, individual responses to feeding and feeding method were variable. No significant difference in Edi timing, Edi min, Edi peak, or apnea was observed for the different epochs. CONCLUSIONS: In this study cohort, neural breathing pattern does not appear to be consistently affected by enteral feeding or the feeding method. Compared with BF, SF does not appear to reduce the number or duration of apneas.
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