Discontinuation of tube feeding in young children by hunger provocation

Angelika Kindermann, Corneille Marie Francois Kneepkens, Anita Stok, Elisabeth Maria van Dijk, Michelle Engels, Adriaan Cornelis Douwes

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OBJECTIVES: Pathological food refusal (PFR) is not rare in young children with chronic conditions requiring prolonged tube feeding. We investigated whether these children could be weaned from tube feeding with a multidisciplinary hunger provocation program. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study included children younger than 2 years with PFR who had been dependent on tube feeding for at least 3 months. They followed a multidisciplinary in-hospital program. During step 1, only 50% of the normal allowance was given by tube. During step 2, oral feeding was offered and completed up to 50% with tube feeding afterwards. During step 3, supplementary tube feeding was given at night. During step 4, only insensible loss (400 mL/m2), was replaced. When the child had started eating, parents took over feeding (step 5). Primary endpoints were eating without tube feeding while gaining weight at 3 and 6 months after discharge. RESULTS: Ten children (age 9-21 months; 7 girls) were exclusively tube fed for 7 to 19 months. Hospital stay lasted 9 to 33 days (mean 17.3 days). All children but 1 remained in clinically stable condition and started to eat within 1 week. Weight loss was 3.7% to 15.6% (mean 9.2%); in 1 child, the program was discontinued because of excessive weight loss. At follow-up after 3 and 6 months, 9 of 10 and 8 of 10 children, respectively, were eating adequately and gaining weight without tube feeding. Two children with recurrent infections resumed partial (25%-50%) tube feeding during follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: The multidisciplinary hunger provocation program seems to be a promising method to promote discontinuation of tube feeding in young children
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-91
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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