IN 1963 we became interested in gastrostomy as a method for delivering formula feedings to tiny premature infants. We observed that infants below 1,500 gm (3 lb 6 oz) body weight at birth not only did not suck well as a general rule, but often tolerated intermittent gavage or retention nasogastric feeding tubes poorly.
An exploratory study was embarked upon to ascertain whether such small infants could tolerate the required surgery and perhaps benefit from some advantages which feeding gastrostomy appears to offer. Our first elective gastrostomy on a premature infant was performed in November 1963. Ten more premature infants had gastrostomies during the following year. This report details our experience and summarizes what was learned in a pilot study.
Selection and Preoperative Management
Patients for the study were selected from infants weighing 1,500 gm (3 lb 6 oz) or less and surviving for 72 hours. The 72-hour age-limit was