To determine the importance of non-nutritive sucking (NNS) in the development of gastrointestinal function and growth in premature infants.
A systematic computerized search of MEDLINE, the Cumulative Index of Nursing in Allied Health Literature, Health, Best Evidence, and the Cochrane Library was performed.
The search yielded eight randomized controlled studies relative to the outcomes of interest: sucking response, gastric emptying, weight gain, and time to discharge from hospital.
Relevant articles were selected using published criteria for detecting clinically sound studies and evidence-based information.
NNS reduces length of hospitalization; however, its effect on the other variables was inconclusive.
CONCLUSION: There is a lack of agreement concerning the outcomes of interest, apart from the positive contribution to early hospital discharge. The studies were methodologically flawed, which compromised validity and estimation of the treatment effect. NNS cannot be currently recommended as a beneficial intervention.
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Premji, S., Paes, B. Gastrointestinal Function and Growth in Premature Infants: Is Non-Nutritive Sucking Vital?. J Perinatol 20, 46–53 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jp.7200299
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