Bacterial contamination of nasogastric feeding tube and development of neonatal sepsis in premature newborns: a prospective observational research at a tertiary care center in Gujarat, India

Rekha Thaddanee, Shamim Morbiwala, Hasmukh Chauhan, Jigar Gusani, Parima Dalal


Background: The objective of the present study is to observe the effect of frequency of changing nasogastric feeding tube (NG-FT) on microbial growth in relation to development of neonatal sepsis in premature newborns. The study is prospective observational study in its nature. Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of a tertiary care teaching hospital of western Gujarat, India, from December 2016 to November 2017.

Methods: Eighty-five preterm newborns admitted to NICU for feeding support were randomly divided into three groups depending on frequency of changing nasogastric feeding tubes (Group I, II and III with NG-FT changed every 12, 24 and 48 hourly respectively). In Groups I, II and III, the first NG-FT cultures were sent at the end of 12, 24, 48 hours of NG-FT insertion respectively. The second and third NG-FT cultures were sent after 7 and 14 days respectively. Microbial growth pattern was observed and correlated with development of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), neonatal sepsis and mortality.

Results: Microbial growth on first NG-FT culture significantly increased when frequency of changing nasogastric feeding tube was reduced from every 12 to 24 or 48 hours {p = 0.0432 (Group I vs II) and 0.0001 (Group I vs III)}. Microbial growth increased on second (24.1%, 87% and 85% in groups I, II and III respectively) and third NG-FT culture (44% in group I and 100% in groups II and III); this was significantly high in group II and III as compared to group I (p = 0.0001). Common organisms isolated were Klebsiella pneumonia (63.28%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (32%) and Escherichia coli (21%). No significant difference was noted in incidences of feeding intolerance, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), neonatal sepsis and mortality among the three groups.

Conclusions: Organism growth in nasogastric feeding tube culture increases significantly when frequency of changing NG-FT is beyond 12 hours. However, there is no increase in episodes of feeding intolerance, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), neonatal sepsis and mortality.


Antibiotic sensitivity, Nasogastric feeding tube culture, Neonatal sepsis, Organisms, Preterm new borns

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