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Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Sep;97(9):2255-62.

Hypocaloric jejunal feeding is better than total parenteral nutrition in acute pancreatitis: results of a randomized comparative study.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23219, USA.



The aims of this study were to define the indications for, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of, nutritional support in patients with acute pancreatitis.


All admissions during the 12-month period from January through December 2000, were entered into a common management protocol consisting of an initial 48-h fast with i.v. fluids and analgesics. After 48 h, those patients who were improving were restarted on oral feeding (group O). The remaining patients were randomized to receive nasojejunal (group EN) or parenteral feeding (group TPN). The randomization study was continued until 50 patients had been accrued. Outcomes in the three groups were compared with respect to length of hospital stay, duration of feeding, complications, and hospital costs.


A total of 156 admissions were evaluated in the first 12 months. Of these, 87% patients had mild disease, 10% moderate, and 3% severe; 62% were related to alcohol abuse, 18% gallstones, and 8% idiosyncratic drug reactions. Of the patients, 75% improved on 48 h bowel rest and i.v. fluids, and were discharged within 4 days. The remainder were randomized to jejunal elemental (n = 26) or parenteral (n = 27) feeding. Duration of feeding was shorter with EN (6.7 vs 10.8 days, p < 0.05) and nutrition costs were lower, representing an average cost saving of $2362.00 per patient fed. EN was less effective in meeting estimated nutritional requirements (54 vs 88%, p < 0.0001), but metabolic (p < 0.003) and septic complications (p = 0.01) were lower. Subgroup analysis of patients with severe disease showed similar findings.


Despite concerns that metabolic expenditure is increased and that food-stimulated pancreatic secretion might exacerbate the disease process, hypocaloric enteral feeding seems to be safer and less expensive than parenteral feeding and bowel rest in patients with acute pancreatitis.

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