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Original Article
August 2001

Enteral vs Parenteral Nutrition After Major Abdominal Surgery: An Even Match

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgical Sciences (Drs Pacelli, Bossola, Papa, Malerba, Bellantone, and Doglietto), Anesthesiology (Dr Modesti), and Internal Medicine and Geriatrics (Dr Sgadari), Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.

Arch Surg. 2001;136(8):933-936. doi:10.1001/archsurg.136.8.933
Abstract

Hypothesis  Immediate enteral feeding following major abdominal surgery reduces postoperative complications and mortality when compared with parenteral nutrition.

Design  A prospective multicenter randomized trial.

Setting  A university hospital department of digestive surgery.

Patients and Interventions  Two hundred forty-one malnourished patients undergoing major elective abdominal surgery were randomly assigned to receive, after surgery, either enteral (enteral nutrition group: 119 patients) or parenteral nutrition (total parenteral nutrition group: 122 patients). The patients were monitored for postoperative complications and mortality.

Results  The rate of major postoperative complications was similar in the enteral and parenteral groups (enteral nutrition group: 37.8%; total parenteral nutrition group: 39.3%; P was not significant), as were the overall postoperative mortality rates (5.9% and 2.5%, respectively; P was not significant).

Conclusion  The present study failed to demonstrate that enteral feeding following major abdominal surgery reduces postoperative complications and mortality when compared with parenteral nutrition.

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