Safety and efficacy of a home nasogastric monitoring program for premature infants

Vergales, B.D., Murray, P.D., Miller, S.E., Vergales, J.E. | JNPM 2022;

Abstract: BACKGROUND: A novel home monitoring program, in which premature infants are cared for at home with a nasogastric tube in place prior to achievement of full oral feeding, was evaluated. The program combines a digital, fully EMR-integrated, virtual daily rounding platform with direct provider video and telephone contact. METHODS: A case-control study was performed evaluating infants < 34 weeks’ gestation who were followed in our program. A historical control group, was created by matching 2 : 1 based on gestational age±6 days, retroactively. RESULT: 15 patients discharged in the program were compared with 30 controls. The home cohort gained an average of 30 g/day compared with the in-hospital group at 27g/day (p = 0.325). The home group required a mean of 5.9±2.9 days to full oral feeding once discharged, not different from the control group at 5.4±3.7 days (p = 0.606). The percentage of oral feeds for the home cohort, however, increased at a rate of 12.2%before discharge compared to rising 57%at home (p < 0.001). The control group spent an additional 8.1±3.9 days in the hospital after reaching criteria. There were no reported adverse events or readmissions. CONCLUSION: Premature infants can safely advance oral feeds using a home monitoring program. While at home, infants gained weight similarly to their inpatient controls, yet gained full oral skills at a significantly faster rate compared to when they were in the hospital.

*Corresponding Author: 

 Brooke D. Vergales, MD, Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia, PO Box 800386, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA. Tel.: +1 434 924 5428; Fax: +1 434 924 2816; E-mail: