The use of feeding tubes in pediatric medical procedures and management has dramatically increased over the last three decades. With this increase, the prevalence of Feeding Tube Dependency (FTD) – a reliance on enteral feeding following medical recovery due to lack of oral intake of nutrition, despite being able to eat– has increased too. It has been suggested, that cases with FTD show avoidant feeding behaviours such as food refusal, gagging or swallowing resistance, but evidence for this hypothesis is scarce. In a German population of 146 cases requesting feeding tube dependency treatment between 2005 and 2008 the frequency of occurrence of avoidant behaviour in FTD cases has been evaluated and was correlated to growth. The study includes children under 50 months of age being tube fed for at least three months. Parents received the Anamnestic Questionnaire for Feeding Disorder and Tube Weaning (AFT), which evaluates nutritional supply, tube feeding, feeding disorder symptoms, medical diagnosis, growth and psychosocial variables. The study group was comprised of 101 children (50 male, 51 female), with a median age of 15 months (IQR: 10–26.5) and a median tube feeding duration of 13 months (IQR: 8–27). The most prevalent medical diagnoses were congenital malformations (n = 51) and prematurity (n = 27). Parents reported daily symptoms of food aversion through all age groups, like food refusal 2 (IQR: 1–3), gagging 1 (IQR: 0–3), vomiting 1 (0.1–2) and total symptoms 6 (5–11). Vomiting was negatively correlated with weight and length percentile and head circumference. Cases with FTD show frequent and persistent food avoidant behaviors, which may be explain the need for specific psychological treatment during transitioning from tube dependency to oral eating.
Appetite – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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