Effect of Protein Supplementation on the Growth of Infants Weighing Less than 1,000 Grams Hospitalized on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Akbar Abadi Hospital in Tehran, Iran (2015-2016)


1 Department of Neonatology, Akbar Abadi Hospital, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Ali Asghar Hospital, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Colorectal Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: Breast milk provides adequate protein to facilitate growth for term infants. Appropriate nutrition is necessary for the growth of preterm infants. Extremely-low-birth-weight (ELBW) infants require higher protein intakes to achieve adequate growth.
The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of protein supplements on the physical growth of infants weighing less than 1,000 grams through the serial measurement of their anthropometric indices (weight, height, and head circumference) during admission at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Methods: This triple-blind, randomized clinical trial was conducted on 64 infants weighing less than 1,000 grams, who were admitted to the NICU of Akbar Abadi Hospital in Tehran, Iran during 2015-2016. Data on the daily nutritional intake of the subjects were recorded until discharge from the hospital. Data analysis was performed in SPSS version 24.
Results: In total, 63 infants were enrolled in the study. Mean daily weight gain of the infants was 55.92±36.90 and 30.80±13.91 grams in the case and control groups, respectively (P=0.001). Mean weekly linear growth in the case and control groups was 0.77±0.67 and 0.76±0.29 centimeter, respectively (P=0.939). Mean weekly head circumference growth in the case and control groups was 0.51±0.10 and 0.34±0.16 centimeter, respectively (P<0.001).
Conclusion: According to the results, protein therapy in the premature, extremely-low-birth-weight (ELBW) infants could improve the rate of weight gain and head circumference growth. Given the importance of weight gain in premature ELBW infants, it is recommended that protein therapy be employed in these newborns. Various studies have denoted the few side-effects of protein therapy, which indicates the safety of this method to resolve the lack of weight gain in these infants.


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