The Effect of an Osmotic Contrast Agent on Complete Meconium Evacuation in Preterm Infants
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether enteral application of the osmotic contrast agent Gastrografin accelerates complete meconium excretion and improves feeding tolerance in very low birth weight infants.
METHODS: This study was a stratified, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in premature infants with a birth weight <1500 g and a gestational age <32 weeks who received 3 mL/kg Gastrografin diluted 1:3 with water within their first 24 hours of life, or placebo.
RESULTS: Passage of last meconium occurred after a median of 7 days (95% confidence interval: 6–9 days, n = 39) in the intervention group and after 8 days (95% confidence interval: 7–10 days, n = 39) in the control group (P = .61); however, Gastrografin application was associated with a 7.5-day shorter time to full enteral feedings, a 24-day shorter stay in the NICU, and a 17-day reduction in the overall hospital stay in the intervention group compared with the control group. A numerically higher incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (21%) was observed in the intervention group, however.
CONCLUSIONS: Gastrografin application did not accelerate meconium evacuation, but the higher stool frequency during the first week of life had a beneficial effect on the time to full enteral feedings and later hospital stay; however, it may increase the necrotizing enterocolitis risk. Further investigations are needed with modified protocols, and the prophylactic use of Gastrografin cannot currently be recommended without further clinical trials.
- CI —
- confidence interval
- GA —
- gestational age
- ITT —
- NEC —
- necrotizing enterocolitis
- PP —
- per protocol
- VLBW —
- very low birth weight
- Accepted August 31, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012 by the American Academy of Pediatrics