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To the Editor.—
During the past five years, we too have avoided nasogastric suction in approximately 50 to 60 patients with mild to moderately severe alcoholic pancreatitis. Our observations have been uncontrolled, but, in general, confirm the findings of Levant et al (229:51, 1974).Our policy has been to insert a nasogastric tube on admission only if the patient has repetitive vomiting, severe pain, or marked distension. The stomach contents are aspirated and the tube is removed unless bleeding is present. The patients are then permitted nothing by mouth until they express marked hunger, whereupon oral feedings are resumed. The nasogastric tube is reinserted if severe vomiting, abdominal distension, or pain recur. Only a few patients have required reintubation. As in Levant's series, anticholinergics, antibiotics, and antacids were not used.We have found an earlier return of bowel sounds, more rapid return of appetite, marked increase in patient comfort, and
Matz R. Nasogastric Suction. JAMA. 1974;229(12):1578–1579. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230500014008