Enteral Feeding of Children on Noninvasive Respiratory Support: A Four-Center European Study∗

Lyvonne N. Tume*, Renate D. Eveleens, Juan Mayordomo-Colunga, Jorge López, Sascha C.A.T. Verbruggen, Marianne Fricaudet, Clare Smith, Mireia Garcia Garcia Cusco, Lynne Latten, Frédéric V. Valla

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To explore enteral feeding practices and the achievement of energy targets in children on noninvasive respiratory support, in four European PICUs. Design: A four-center retrospective cohort study. Setting: Four PICUs: Bristol, United Kingdom; Lyon, France; Madrid, Spain; and Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Patients: Children in PICU who required acute noninvasive respiratory support in the first 7 days. The primary outcome was achievement of standardized kcal/goal. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: A total of 325 children were included (Bristol 104; Lyon 99; Madrid 72; and Rotterdam 50). The median (interquartile range) age and weight were 3 months (1-16 mo) and 5 kg (4-10 mo), respectively, with 66% admitted with respiratory failure. There were large between-center variations in practices. Overall, 190/325 (58.5%) received noninvasive respiratory support in order to prevent intubation and 41.5% after extubation. The main modes of noninvasive respiratory support used were high-flow nasal cannula 43.6%, bilevel positive airway pressure 33.2%, and continuous positive airway pressure 21.2%. Most children (77.8%) were fed gastrically (48.4% continuously) and the median time to the first feed after noninvasive respiratory support initiation was 4 hours (interquartile range, 1-9 hr). The median percentage of time a child was nil per oral while on noninvasive respiratory support was 4 hours (2-13 hr). Overall, children received a median of 56% (25-82%) of their energy goals compared with a standardized target of 0.85 of the recommended dietary allowance. Patients receiving step-up noninvasive respiratory support (p = < 0.001), those on bilevel positive airway pressure or continuous positive airway pressure (compared with high-flow nasal cannula) (p = < 0.001), and those on continuous feeds (p = < 0.001) achieved significantly more of their kcal goal. Gastrointestinal complications varied from 4.8 - 20%, with the most common reported being vomiting in 54/325 (16.6%), other complications occurred in 40/325 (12.3%) children, but pulmonary aspiration was rare 5/325 (1.5%). Conclusions: Children on noninvasive respiratory support tolerated feeding well, with relatively few complications, but prospective trials are now required to determine the optimal timing and feeding method for these children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E192-E202
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

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