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Ann Surg. 1991 Feb;213(2):177-83.

Immediate enteral feeding in burn patients is safe and effective.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, LSU Medical Center, Shreveport 71130.


Recent animal studies indicate that immediate enteral feeding may be beneficial in patients with major burns. Yet, largely because of the fear of complications, immediate enteral feeding is not commonly performed in patients with major burns until after the resuscitation period. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of immediate enteral tube feedings in patients with burns larger than 20% of their body surface area. The daily intake of enteral feedings begun immediately (less than 6 hours) after burn was measured during the first 7 days after burn in 106 consecutive patients with a mean +/- SD burn size of 40% +/- 21%. The incidence of complications related to enteral feeding was low; aspiration pneumonia did not occur. Vomiting was the major complication observed and occurred 21 times in 16 patients during the 745 study days (2.8% daily incidence). The mean number of calories absorbed enterally increased daily and met the patient's calculated resting energy expenditure (REE) on day 3 after burn (99% +/- 7% REE). The results of this study indicate that immediate enteral feeding is a safe and effective method of delivering nutritional support to burn victims with major burns.

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