Nutrition Support and Newborn Screening in the NICU Population: Is There a Link?

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Virginia Tech

Background: Recent research is revealing the high rate of false-positive screening results for IEMs in the NICU population. No study published to date has specifically studied the possible relationship between nutrition and newborn screening in this population.

Objective: It is suspected that NICU infants who receive PN are more likely to have abnormal newborn screening results than infants who receive EN. An understanding of the role of nutrition will assist in developing protocols for screening in the NICU and decrease false-positives.

Design: Infants admitted to the NICU between January 1-June 30, 2009 were included in this retrospective chart review study (n=339). The type of nutrition and timing of its initiation was recorded and compared to newborn screening results to identify correlations with false-positives. Statistical analysis included means, percentages, Fisher's exact test, Chi-square test, and the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test.

Results: Nutrition type was significantly associated with newborn screening (p<0.001); those who received parenteral nutrition were more likely to have a false-positive. For infants who also received PN, EN of breast milk exclusively increased risk of an abnormal screen more than formula exclusively or breast milk plus formula. The timing of parenteral nutrition had no effect on screening. Premature infants who received PN exclusively had a higher percentage of false-positives than those who received EN

Conclusions: Although the hypothesis could not be statistically supported, PN appears to contribute to false-positive newborn screens. More research is needed to ascertain the role of EN and GA in newborn screening and to develop standardized protocols.

Parenteral Nutrition, Newborn Screening, NICU, Preterm Infant, Inborn Errors of Metabolism