Is gastric lavage needed in neonates with meconium-stained amniotic fluid?
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We compared the incidence of complications from meconium-containing gastric fluid in a group of neonates born with meconium-stained amniotic fluid (MSAF) who did not routinely have gastric lavage prior to feeds, versus a group who had elective gastric lavage before the first feed. In the first group, 275 neonates born with MSAF were fed without prior gastric lavage. While 13 developed feeding problems, the other 262 infants (95%) who did not undergo routine gastric lavage remained free of later feeding difficulties or secondary meconium aspiration. In the second group, all 227 neonates with MSAF had elective gastric lavage performed after birth. All remained free of later feeding difficulties or secondary meconium aspiration.
Conclusion Our data suggest that gastric lavage is not necessary in most neonates born with meconium-stained amniotic fluid, regardless of the thickness of the meconium-stained fluid, as no complications from meconium-containing gastric fluid were observed.
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