A Study on the Effects of Feeding and Feeding Methods on Breathing Pattern in Very Low Birth Weight Preterm Infants

2014-08-27 03:33:15 | BioPortfolio


In this study, we want to see how feeding affects breathing in small premature babies. Using a special feeding tube in the stomach, we can measure how the diaphragm (a large breathing muscle) might be affected by feeding. We also want to see if slowing down the feeding may lessen this effect.


Premature babies may have pauses in breathing known as apnea, which may require invasive treatment. The exact cause of apnea is unknown, and may be related to a combination of brain, gut, and lung immaturity.

Research in premature babies suggests that feeding may affect lung functions, but such effects may be lessened if feeds are given at a slower rate. Further research showed that the diaphragm, an important breathing muscle, may be fatigued by a full stomach. We speculate that, in premature babies, feeding might tire the diaphragm, thus impairing lung function and possibly causing apnea.

We plan to study 10 stable premature babies less than 23 weeks and 1.25 kilograms at birth. By inserting a special feeding tube with sensors into the stomach, we can measure the electrical activity of the diaphragm (EAdi). By analysing EAdi before and after feeding, we want to directly measure how feeding might affect lung functions. We also want to compare feeding at the usual rate (5-15 minutes) versus a slower rate (90 minutes) to see how their effects on lung functions might differ.

This important study will help us determine the most appropriate treatment for premature babies with apnea related to feeding.

Study Design

Observational Model: Case-Crossover, Time Perspective: Prospective


Infant, Premature


Insertion of specialized feeding tube for monitoring of EAdi


Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre




Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:33:15-0400

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