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Fifteen-minute consultation: ABCDE approach to nutritional assessment in preterm infants

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nicholas EmbletonORCiD


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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.The last 20 years has seen dramatic improvements in the survival of preterm infants due to improved antenatal and neonatal care. Closer attention to nutrition means early parenteral nutrition and mother's own milk are considered as standard of care. Many uncertainties remain however, such as optimal macronutrient intakes for longer term cognitive and metabolic outcomes, and the optimal probiotic regime to reduce the risk of necrotising enterocolitis. Nutrition involves macronutrients and micronutrients, immunonutrients, microbiomic aspects and nutrient delivery. It is also clear that there are behavioural and psychological aspects, and strongly held beliefs for parents and professionals that affect practice. While many healthcare professionals (HCPs) are aware of several key nutritional concepts on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), many HCPs lack a concise, systematic approach. This article provides a brief approach to nutritional assessment for use on the NICU summarised as ABCDE: A - anthropometry, B - biochemistry, C - clinical, D - dietary intakes, E - environment and evaluation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Embleton ND

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Archives of Disease in Childhood: Education and Practice Edition

Year: 2022

Volume: 107

Issue: 5

Pages: 314-319

Print publication date: 19/09/2022

Online publication date: 21/05/2021

Acceptance date: 08/05/2021

ISSN (print): 1743-0585

ISSN (electronic): 1743-0593

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2020-320928

PubMed id: 34021008