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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2019 Jan 8. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002264. [Epub ahead of print]

Long-term Outcomes of an Interdisciplinary Tube Weaning Program: A Quantitative Study.

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Medical University of Graz, Austria.



Children who become tube dependent need specialized treatment in order to make the transition to oral feeding. Little is known about long-term effects of tube weaning programs. This study analyses long-term effects (outcome, growth and nutrition data) in a large sample of formerly tube dependent children 1-6 years after participation in tube weaning programs, based on the "Graz model of tube weaning".


Parents of children who completed a tube weaning program between 2009 and 2014 (N = 564) were asked to complete a questionnaire on their child's growth and nutrition. Data was analyzed using SPSS V22.0 for Windows (SPSS, Chicago, Illinois, USA).


Response rate was 47.16% (N = 266). Seven children had died between completion of the program and the long-term follow-up. 239 children (92.3%) were still exclusively orally fed 1-6 years after completion of the weaning program, 17 children (6.6%) were partially tube fed. Three children were completely tube fed (1.1%). Growth data showed no significant changes in zBMI between completion of weaning and long-term follow-up. Provided data on nutrition of fully orally fed patients showed that most children (N = 162, 68%) were eating an age appropriate diet, while a small percentage (N = 10, 4%) were fed with a high-caloric formula, a selective diet (N = 12, 5%) or a liquid/pureed diet (N = 55, 23%).


Many children who undergo a tube weaning program based on the "Graz model of tube weaning" are able to stay on full oral feeds in the years after completion of the wean without deterioration of growth.

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