JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Effect of Nonnutritive Sucking on Oral Feeding in Neonates With Perinatal Asphyxia: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

AIMS: The effect of nonnutritive sucking (NNS) stimulation is unclear in infants with perinatal asphyxia. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess the effect of NNS stimulation on oral intake, discharge time, and early feeding skills in infants with perinatal asphyxia.

DESIGN: A randomized controlled study was conducted.

METHOD: Of the 94 infants, 47 were included in the experimental group and given NNS stimulation once a day before tube feeding by a speech-language therapist (SLT) in addition to hypothermia treatment. Infants' feeding performances on the days of first oral intake and discharge were evaluated with the Early Feeding Skills Scale (EFS).

RESULTS: The time from tube feeding to oral intake was significantly lower in the experimental group compared to the control group ( p < .05). EFS scores at discharge were significantly higher in the experimental group than in the control group ( p < .05). There was no significant difference between the experimental and control groups in terms of discharge and weight gain ( p > .05).

CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicated that the NNS stimulation positively affected oral intake and early feeding skills in infants with perinatal asphyxia, as in preterms. However, NNS stimulation had no significant effect on discharge and weight gain in infants with asphyxia. This finding may be attributed to other factors. It is recommended to use NNS by an SLT in a neonatal intensive care unit within a multidisciplinary team to accelerate the transition to oral feeding and improve feeding skills in infants with perinatal asphyxia. Further studies on the effect of NNS stimulation in infants with perinatal asphyxia are needed to corroborate its effects on discharge time and weight gain.

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