Skip to main content

22-08-2011 | Gastroenterology | Article

Osteopathic therapy reduces GI symptoms in premature infants


Free full text

MedWire News: Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) reduces gastrointestinal symptoms and hospital length of stay in a population of premature infants, research shows.

In addition, more premature infants receiving osteopathic care can be discharged before 28 days, regardless of gender, gestational age, birth weight, and oral feeding at admission.

Although the exact mechanism of benefit is unknown, OMT has positive effects on neurological, tissue, and neuroendocrine factors, suggest Gianfranco Pizzolorusso (European Institute for Evidence-Based Osteopathic Medicine, Chieti, Italy) and colleagues in the journal Chiropractic and Manual Therapies.

In this study, a total of 359 infants were treated with optimal medical therapy. Of these, 162 subjects also received osteopathic treatment.

The OMT included indirect and fluidic techniques, such as indirect myofascial release, sutural spread, balanced membranous tension, and balanced ligamentous tension.

OMT was performed within 14 days after birth and ranged between 25 and 30 minutes in duration. The infant's body was evaluated and manipulative procedures performed on the basis of osteopathic palpatory structural examination results.

In a multivariate regression analysis, OMT was associated with a significant 55% reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms. The Italian researchers suggest that OMT may modify the autonomic nervous system, or possibly reduce inflammation in the tissue.

In addition, the group reported that more patients receiving OMT could be sent home before 28 days compared with babies who received standard medical care only.

Reducing hospital length of stay is an important measurement as it reduces the number of babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. This allows for "more cribs to become simultaneously available for those infants who require specialized care," say Pizzolorusso and colleagues.

In addition, the potential benefit might spread beyond hospital discharge, considering that hospitalization influences early nutrition and morbidity of gastrointestinal infections.

By MedWire Reporters

Related topics