Effective Tube Weaning and Predictive Clinical Characteristics of NICU Patients With Feeding Dysfunction

Anna Ermarth, Debbie Thomas, Con Yee Ling, Adam Cardullo, Ben R. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary earlier discharge model for neonates receiving home enteral nutrition (HEN). Methods: A retrospective data review and analysis was performed on 183 patients discharged out of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) receiving partial oral feeds (PO) and partial HEN from September 2016 to March 2018. These patients were followed in a multidisciplinary clinic led by a pediatric gastroenterologist, a neonatal feeding therapist, and a pediatric dietitian. Demographics and data were recorded for patients at discharge, and then chart reviews were performed for additional data. Results: Of 182 patients, 121 (67%) weaned off HEN with a median time to full PO at 79 days (interquartile range [IQR] 15, 247) and had median PO intake of 20% (0, 43) at time of discharge. When comparing patients who gained 100% PO vs patients who did not wean off HEN, the weaned group consisted of 88% nasogastric tubes, with median time off feeds at 27 days (IQR 8, 79) and median PO intake of 29% (11, 50) at discharge. Only 13% of the cohort had an emergency room or hospital admission, which corresponds to 1.6 and 0.8 events, respectively, per 500 tube days specifically due to HEN complications. Conclusions: Our study supports that NICU patients with feeding dysfunction can effectively and safely discharge home earlier while receiving HEN. Our data suggest that a dedicated outpatient clinic can facilitate effective tube weaning in a majority of neonates with complex medical diseases with low rates of adverse events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)920-927
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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