Impact of Early Postoperative Enteral Feeding on Hospital Length of Stay in Patients Undergoing Colonic Surgery: Results of a Prospective Randomized Trial


Introduction: Early feeding within 24 hours of intestinal surgery seems advantageous in terms of reduction of wound infection, pneumonia and length of hospital stay. The aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of early enteral nutrition in length of hospital stay in comparison to traditional postoperative feeding regimen. Method: This prospective study enrolled 95 patients randomized in two groups: control group patients receive enteral feeding in absence of nausea or vomiting, abdominal distension and after passage of flatus or stools, while patients in experimental group were fed a liquid diet within 12 hours of surgery, followed by a regular diet at the next meal. The primary endpoint was the impact of early oral feeding on hospital length of stay. The secondary endpoint was to measure the impact of the diet reintroduction modality on the incidence of early postoperative morbidity and return of bowel function. Result: Length of hospital stay was slightly diminished in the experimental group compared to control (8.78 ± 3.85 versus 9.41 ± 5.22), but the difference was not statistically significant. Postoperative nausea and vomiting were reported in 24 (51.0%) patients in experimental group and 30 (62.5%) in control group. Only one patient required nasogastric tube insertion. The majority of patients did not demonstrate any postoperative morbidity in both groups. Conclusion: Early enteral nutrition is safe after intestinal surgery. However we did not demonstrate that early enteral feeding diminished length of hospital stay or hastened the return of bowel function.

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Y. Bendavid, K. Martel, L. Sideris, P. Drolet and P. Dubé, "Impact of Early Postoperative Enteral Feeding on Hospital Length of Stay in Patients Undergoing Colonic Surgery: Results of a Prospective Randomized Trial," Surgical Science, Vol. 3 No. 11, 2012, pp. 537-541. doi: 10.4236/ss.2012.311106.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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