• A study was conducted over a 23-month period to determine the possibility of early postoperative oral feeding after removal of a nasogastric tube in patients undergoing gastrointestinal operations. One hundred seventy-one patients were prospectively randomized into two groups. The first group began liquid oral intake 4 hours after removal of the tube. The second group began an ordinary solid intake soon after nasogastric tube removal. The criterion to remove the tube was based on normal bowel sounds heard by at least two senior surgeons. There was no significant difference between both groups concerning the occurrence of gastrointestinal disturbances following tube removal. Most of the disorders were observed after lower intestinal tract operations. Nine patients in the first group and seven patients in the second group required reinsertion of a nasogastric tube. We suggest that early solid intake immediately after nasogastric tube removal can safely be used in gastrointestinal operations.
(Arch Surg. 1992;127:287-289)