For a study, researchers sought to investigate the prevalence and predictors of home nasogastric (NG) tube feeding after hospital discharge in a cohort of extremely preterm babies from the Canadian Neonatal Network (CNN).

It was a population-based cohort study of children born between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2018, who were admitted to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) participating in the CNN. We eliminated newborns with significant congenital defects, those needing a gastrostomy tube, or those discharged to non-CNN hospitals. The independent factors of home NG-tube feeding upon hospital release were identified using multivariable logistic regression analysis.

About 333 (2.5%) of the 13,232 children born very preterm throughout the research period were released home to undergo NG-tube feeding. Rates of home NG-tube feeding ranged from 0% to 12% across Canadian NICUs. Home NG-tube feeding was determined by gestational age (aOR 0.94 per each gestational week increase, 95% CI 0.88-0.99); duration of mechanical ventilation (aOR 1.02 per each day increase, 95% CI 1.01-1.02); high illness severity at birth (aOR 1.32, 95% CI 1.01-1.74); small for gestational age (aOR 2.06, 95% CI 1.52-2.78); male sex (aOR 0.61, 95% CI 0.49-0.77); severe brain injury (aOR 1.60, 95% CI 1.10-2.32); and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (aOR 2.22, 95% CI 1.67-2.94).

Home NG-tube feeding rates differed greatly amongst Canadian NICUs. Higher gestational age and male sex decreased the likelihood of being discharged home to undergo NG-tube feeding; however, small for gestational age, serious brain damage, longer duration on mechanical ventilation, and bronchopulmonary dysplasia raised the likelihood.