Amer J Perinatol
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1608875
Original Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Nasogastric Feeding Tubes May Not Contribute to Gastroesophageal Reflux in Preterm Infants

Swati V. Murthy1, Apryle Funderburk2, Sheeja Abraham3, Michele Epstein1, Joan DiPalma3, Zubair H. Aghai1
  • 1Department of Neonatology, Thomas Jefferson University, Nemours, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 2Pediatrix Medical Group, Columbia, South Carolina
  • 3Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Thomas Jefferson University, Nemours, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Further Information

Publication History

01 August 2017

21 October 2017

Publication Date:
30 November 2017 (eFirst)


Objective The objective was to determine if the presence of a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube is associated with increased gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and acid exposure in preterm infants.

Study Design This is a retrospective study on preterm infants [gestational age (GA) <37 weeks] who were evaluated by multichannel intraluminal impedance and pH monitoring (MII-pH) between October 2009 and March 2016. Infants were divided into two groups, NG tube present and no feeding tube. GER events per hour and the percent of time with pH <4 during a 24-hour period were then compared.

Results Eighty-three infants were included, 41 had an NG tube present and 42 did not. The group without an NG tube had significantly more reflux events per hour (2.3 ± 2.9 vs. 1.3 ± 0.8, p < 0.05) even after adjusting for differences in birth weight, GA, corrected GA, and total fluid intake. There was no significant difference in acidic events per hour and acid exposure time between the two groups.

Conclusion The presence of a 5-French NG tube is not associated with an increase in GER or acid exposure in preterm infants. In fact, it appears that infants fed through an NG tube have fewer episodes of GER.