prematurity; newborn; gastroesophageal reflux; apnea; transpyloric feeding





The etiological correlation between gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and apnea is controversial. We conducted a prospective interventional study designed to address the controversy.


Preterm neonates with apnea at a tertiary care center, who had clinical features of GER without any other comorbidities likely to cause apnea, were included in the study. The enrolled neonates underwent continuous transpyloric tube feeding for 72 hours. The primary outcome measure was the difference in the number of apneic episodes pre- and post-initiation of nasoduodenal (ND) feeding. Secondary outcome measures included the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, other gastrointestinal disturbances, and mortality.


Sixteen preterm neonates were included in the study. A substantial proportion (n =11, 68.8%) of the included neonates had a reduction in the number of apneic episodes. There was a significant decrease in the mean number of apneic episodes from 1.75 (±0.837) to 0.969 (±0.957) (P=.007). The median number of apneas was 1.5 (IQR 0.875) before and 0.5 (IQR 0.875) after ND feeds. There were no serious adverse events observed that were attributable to transpyloric feeding.


This prospective study suggests that in a selected group of preterm neonates with reflux-associated apnea, transpyloric feeding can be an effective therapeutic modality.

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