Effect of Enteral Tube Feeding on Growth of Children with Symptomatic Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

Robin A. Henderson, Jose M. Saavedra, Jay A. Perman, Nancy Hutton, Robert A. Livingston, Robert H. Yolken

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56 Scopus citations


Malnutrition and growth failure are frequent clinical consequences of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in children. Tube feeding is a means by which to increase the enteral intake of nutrients. We examined the effect of tube feeding in 18 children, median age 6 months (range, 3-159). Tube feedings were initiated due to growth failure in all, which was also associated with dysfunctional swallowing or aspiration in seven children and gastroesophageal reflux in two. Tube feedings were infused via nasogastric tube (n = 4) or gastrostomy tube (n = 14) and were continued for a median of 8.5 months (range, 2-24). Stoma complications developed in three children with gastrostomy tubes; these were the only tube-related side effect. Tube feedings were discontinued due to noncompliance (n = 3), gastrostomy leak-age (n = 2), intolerance (n = 2), and death (n = 3). Anthropometric changes were evaluated comparing mean standard deviation scores (Z) before and after tube feeding. Tube feeding resulted in significantly increased weight for age (Z,-2.13 ± 0.7 vs.-1.46 ± 1.4; p = 0.04), weight for height (Z,-1.07 ± 1.0 vs.-0.13 ± 1.0; p = 0.004), and arm fat area (Z,-1.75 ± 1.3 vs.-0.62 ± 1.2; p = 0.01). However, tube feeding did not result in significant changes in height for age (Z,-1.93 ± 0.8 vs.-1.74 ± 1.6) or arm muscle area (Z,-1.24 ± 0.9 vs.-0.57 ± 1.2). Tube feedings effectively increased the weight of HIV-infected children in this study, but they were not sufficient to correct linear growth deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-434
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1994


  • AIDS
  • Enteral feeding
  • Growth
  • HIV infection
  • Nutritional support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


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