Bolus Gastric Feeds Improve Nutritional Delivery to Mechanically Ventilated Pediatric Medical Patients: Results of the COntinuous vs BOlus (COBO2) Multi-Center Trial

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Background: Comparison of bolus (BGF) versus continuous gastric feeding (CGF) with respect to timing and delivery of energy and protein in mechanically ventilated pediatric patients has not been investigated. We hypothesized that bolus delivery would shorten time to goal nutrition and increase the percentage of goal feeds delivered.

Methods: Multi-center, prospective, randomized comparative effectiveness trial conducted in seven Pediatric ICUs (PICUs). Eligibility criteria: 1 month - 12 years of age, intubated within 24 hours of PICU admission, expected duration of ventilation at least 48 hours, eligible to begin enteral nutrition within 48 hours.

Exclusion criteria: acute or chronic gastrointestinal pathology, or acute surgery.

Results: We enrolled 158 mechanically ventilated children between October 2015 and April 2018; 147 patients were included in the analysis (BGF = 72, CGF = 75). The BGF group was slightly older than CGF, otherwise the two groups had similar demographic characteristics. There was no difference in the percentage of patients in each group that achieved goal feeds. Time to goal feeds was shorter in the BGF [Hazard Ratio 1.5 (CI 1.02-2.33); P = 0.0387]. Median percentage of target kilocalories [median kcal 0.78 vs 0.59; p = <.0001], and median percentage of protein delivered [median pro 0.77 vs 0.59; p = <.0001] was higher for BGF patients. There was no difference in serial oxygen saturation index between groups.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrated shorter time to achieve goal nutrition via BGF compared to CGF in mechanically ventilated pediatric patients. This resulted in increased delivery of target energy and nutrition. Further study is needed in other PICU populations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Critical care; Enteral nutrition; Life Cycle; Nutrition; Pediatrics; Research and Diseases; intensive care units; pediatric; tube feeding.