Gastric Residual Volumes in Premature Infants

Briefly noted: B Singh et al. J Pediatr 2018; 200: 79-83.  In this study of 87 infants witth birth weights 1500-2000, avoiding routine assessment of gastric residual volumes before feeding advancement did not shorten the time to reach full feeds.  However, checking these residuals provided no clear advantages and have some potential disadvantages:

  • Time-consuming to check and may inaccurate depending on size/location of orogastric/nasogastric tube
  • Discarding gastric contents results in loss of gastric enzymes and acid

The authors note that prior studies have shown that gastric residuals are “unreliable predictors of feeding intolerance” studies have had discrepancies with regard to whether they are predictive of necrotizing enterocolitis.

Related blog post: When to Check Gastric Residuals in Preterm Infants