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Title Error in Fluid and Calorie Calculation in the Surgical Neonate
Author(s) Joseph J. Tepas III; Daniel L. Mollitt; Dana L. String; Pam Pieper
Source Journal of Pediatric Surgery, Vol. 26, No. 2, Pages 132-134
Publication Date Feb. 1991
Abstract Nutritional management has become an integral part of the care of the surgical neonate. In most teaching institutions, this is the responsibility of the resident staff with varying degrees of supervision. The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of this management. Eleven parameters of fluid and nutritional status were determined daily on all surgical newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The values were calculated by the housestaff in traditional fashion, based on the available bedside data, and entered into the charts. Similar values were calculated, based on the same data, by a trained clinical nurse specialist using a preprogrammed, hand-held computer. Values were then compared for significant difference. Approximately 2500 calculations were analyzed. Overall, there was a statistically significant error detected in the housestaff evaluation of both fluid and nutritional status. This discrepancy was greatest in infants weighing less than 2 kg. Similarly, there was an inverse correlation between the degree of error and house-officer level. These data indicate a potential risk in the management of the surgical neonate. This risk is greatest in the small infant, indicating the need for close supervision of critical physiological computations within the teaching NICU.

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