Conference Proceedings | J Oral Health Dent. 2018;1(S2):A017 | Open Access

Interventions for Neonates at High Risk of Feeding Difficulties: A Literature Review

Edney SK

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK



Purpose: There is a high incidence of feeding problems in the neonatal population, with certain groups being particularity at risk. Most neonatal feeding studies exclude infants with ‘confounding’ conditions. Consequently, infants at highest risk of feeding and swallowing problems are understudied. This paper reviews studies of neonatal feeding interventions evaluated with infants at high risk of feeding difficulties.
Methods: A database search carried out using EMBASE, CINAHL, Medline, AMED, and PSYCInfo. Papers were included if they studied a neonatal feeding intervention, did not exclude participants with conditions associated with feeding difficulties and were published 2012-2017.
Results: Six papers met the inclusion criteria. Three papers focused on preterms, one on neurological damage, and two on congenital heart defects. Only three papers specifically sought to study infants with co-morbidities affecting feeding. While results indicated positive outcomes associated with the interventions studied, all papers contained significant methodological issues impacting on validity and generalizability. All studies were quantitative in nature, with only one containing a qualitative element. Due to this quantitative emphasis, it is not known how interventions are experienced or why they may or may not work.
Conclusions: Current research is inadequate to guide the clinician in preventing and treating feeding and swallowing problems in high risk neonates. High qualities studies, including qualitative components, are needed to improve understanding of optimal care and interventions for this group.