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Pediatrics

The effect of an osmotic contrast agent on complete meconium evacuation in preterm infants.


PMID 23184118

Abstract

To determine whether enteral application of the osmotic contrast agent Gastrografin accelerates complete meconium excretion and improves feeding tolerance in very low birth weight infants. This study was a stratified, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in premature infants with a birth weight <1500 g and a gestational age <32 weeks who received 3 mL/kg Gastrografin diluted 1:3 with water within their first 24 hours of life, or placebo. Passage of last meconium occurred after a median of 7 days (95% confidence interval: 6-9 days, n = 39) in the intervention group and after 8 days (95% confidence interval: 7-10 days, n = 39) in the control group (P = .61); however, Gastrografin application was associated with a 7.5-day shorter time to full enteral feedings, a 24-day shorter stay in the NICU, and a 17-day reduction in the overall hospital stay in the intervention group compared with the control group. A numerically higher incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (21%) was observed in the intervention group, however. Gastrografin application did not accelerate meconium evacuation, but the higher stool frequency during the first week of life had a beneficial effect on the time to full enteral feedings and later hospital stay; however, it may increase the necrotizing enterocolitis risk. Further investigations are needed with modified protocols, and the prophylactic use of Gastrografin cannot currently be recommended without further clinical trials.

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