Feeding tube placement in preterm and/or low birth weight infants is crucial to comfort and overall health. Nasal tubes can interfere with proper breathing and respiration while oral tubes are more likely to cause irritation or become displaced during hospitalization. Researchers from the University of York recently published a trial review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Review on the subject.

After establishing review criteria, researchers were able to locate three clinical trials on the subject. The trials did not effectively research or report on the two feeding methods. One study was understaffed and another did not report on preset criteria like the rate of bradycardia, apnea or desaturation.

Researchers believe clinical studies need to be completed on preterm and low birth weight infants to determine the best course of feeding tube placement. As it stands, there is no clinical evidence or guidance for medical professionals.

Source: Watson J, McGuire W. Nasal versus oral route for placing feeding tubes in preterm or low birth weight infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Feb 28;2:CD003952. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003952.pub3.