Background: The aim of this systematic review was to determine whether introduction of oral feeding for infants and children receiving nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) or high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) respiratory support facilitates achievement of full oral feeding without adverse effects, compared to no oral feeding (NPO; nil per oral) on CPAP or HFNC. Methods: A protocol was lodged with the PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews. We searched Medline, Embase, CINAHL, CENTRAL and AustHealth from database inception to 10th June 2020. Study population included children (preterm to < 18 years) on nCPAP or HFNC who were orally feeding. Primary outcomes included full or partial oral feeding and oropharyngeal aspiration. Secondary outcomes examined adverse events including clinical signs of aspiration, aspiration pneumonia and deterioration in respiratory status.
Results: The search retrieved 1684 studies following duplicate removal. Title and abstract screening identified 70 studies for full text screening and of these, 16 were included in the review for data extraction. Methods of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) included nCPAP (n = 6), nCPAP and HFNC (n = 5) and HFNC (n = 5). A metanalysis was not possible as respiratory modes and cohorts were not comparable. Eleven studies reported on adverse events. Oral feeding safety was predominantly based on retrospective data from chart entries and clinical signs, with only one study using an instrumental swallow evaluation (VFSS) to determine aspiration status.
Conclusions: Findings are insufficient to conclude whether commencing oral feeding whilst on nCPAP or HFNC facilitates transition to full oral feeding without adverse effects, including oropharyngeal aspiration. Further research is required to determine the safety and efficacy of oral feeding on CPAP and HFNC for infants and children. Trial registration: PROSPERO registration number: CRD42016039325.