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Nutr Hosp. 2012 Jul-Aug;27(4):1120-6. doi: 10.3305/nh.2012.27.4.5848.

[Delay in the acquisition of sucking-swallowing-breathing in the preterm; efects of early stimulation].

[Article in Spanish]

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Sección de Gastroenterología y Nutrición Pediátrica, Servicio de Pediatría, Hospital Universitario de Getafe, Getafe, Madrid, España.



Premature baby's oral feeding is not possible until the reflex of sucking-swallowing-breathing adquisition. Its delay extends hospital stay and increases the incidence of oral motor disorders in early childhood.


To analyze the transition from enteral to oral nutrition, the comorbidity associated with its delay and the impact of an early suction stimulation in a cohort of premature babies.


Retrospective checking of 95 infants less than 32 gestation weeks (GW) admitted to a neonatal ICU in the last 4 years. It was revised the gestational age, anthropometric at birth and discharge, comorbidity, duration of mechanical ventilation, oxygen requirements, time of beginning and end of enteral/oral nutrition, beginning of Kangaroo method and the suction stimulation and the daily weight gain average.


Suction stimulation began between weeks 29 and 40 GW (average and median 32 GW). Oral nutrition was initiated between 31-40 GW (average and median 33 GW) and completed between 33-44 GW (average and median 35 GW). Oral nutrition was delayed in patients who required longer mechanical ventilation and oxygen therapy. There was a positive correlation between the beginning of suction stimulation and the time of acquisition of a complete oral nutrition (84% Spearman correlation test) and length of hospital stay (80% Spearman correlation test).


[corrected] Early suction stimulation in a preterm patient seems to facilitate full oral nutrition at an early stage and it is associated with a hospital stay decrease and the improvement in the daily weight gain average.

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